Lingayen- – –Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III led the opening of the biggest basketball league in the province – the 1st Governor’s Cup Inter-Town Basketball Tournament 2016 – on December 17 at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) gymnasium with the participation of over 500 Pangasinan cagers .
Gov. Espino said the tournament was conceptualized mainly to hone not just the skills of the players but to build their characters, as well.
In his brief message, the Governor, who is a basketball enthusiast, mentioned the value of fair play, honor and respect among players in representing their respective towns and cities.
As such, the provincial chief executive noted that the tournament aimed to discover players who are competitive yet of good character.
A pet project of Gov. Pogi himself, the tournament will see 14 best-selected cagers per team whose age ranges from 18-24 years old who will compete in the playoffs and the finals.
In addition to this, the Governor mentioned that from the competing squads, the top players will be picked to form Pangasinan Teams 1 and 2, who will represent the province in various national competitions to include the Philippine National Games and other invitational matches.
Basically, the project was conceptualized to provide fresh opportunities for potential Pangasinan cagers by being discovered and scouted by collegiate and professional basketball league coaches, with high hopes of being drafted.
It can be recalled that the governor’s father, former governor now 5th district representative Amado T. Espino, Jr. planned to open a sports academy in Pangasinan. Thus, in 2017, the undertaking will materialize under the present administration, the younger Espino said.
Vowing to continue the legacy of his father, Gov. Pogi pledged his full support to further the cause of youth and sports development in Pangasinan which will also serve as a backbone for tourism development.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr., who joined the governor in welcoming the participants said that the project is long overdue.
He cited that the tournament, which will last until April 22 next year, is a good project that will pave the way towards unity and harmonious relationship among the local government units (LGUs) in the province.
In the tournament’s opening day, the ceremonial tip-off was spearheaded by Gov. Pogi.
Scheduled games are held by conference—Central, Western, Eastern and Northern which started on December 17.
The four conference teams are as follows: Central Conference– Bayambang, Malasiqui, Basista, San Carlos City, Binmaley, Urbiztondo, and Calasiao; Western Conference- Bolinao, Anda, Bani, Alaminos City, Burgos, Sual, Labrador, Bugallon, Aguilar and Lingayen; Eastern Conference- Natividad, San Quintin, Urdaneta City, Sta Maria, Tayug, San Manuel, Asingan, San Nicolas and Rosales; Northern Conference- Mangaldan, San Fabian, San Jacinto, Alcala, Bautista, Manaoag, Sto. Tomas, Villasis and Laoac.
Results of the first two days of the inter-town tournament are as follows: December 17: Urbiztondo VS San Carlos, 93-69; Tayug VS Natividad, 63-62; Alaminos VS Bugallon, 102-84; Mangaldan VS Manaoag, 95-92. December 18: Bayambang VS Malasiqui, 88-83; Mapandan VS Basista, 98-77; Calasiao VS San Carlos, 101-85; Mangatarem VS Binmaley, 80-94; Sta. Barbara VS Urbiztondo, 79-74; Urdaneta VS San Nicolas 90-68; Sta. Maria VS Asingan, 72-110; Tayug VS San Manuel 81-61; Bolinao VS Anda, 81-87; Lingayen VS Bani, 91-84; Aguilar VS Alaminos, 44-82; Bugallon VS Burgos, 94-81; Labrador VS Sual, 98-79; San Fabian VS Laoac, 77-87; San Jacinto VS Villasis, 77-79; Alcala VS Sto. Tomas, 90-97; and Bautista VS Manaoag, 82-102. (Ruby R. Bernardino)