R1-CHESAA BASKETBALL LEAGUE
UNIVERSITY of Luzon Golden Tigers leaned on an explosive first half with a comfortable lead of 16 marks, 44-28, flirted with near disaster on the third, 61-55, and unleashed its veterans on the final period with an sparkling 7-0 blast to eventually overwhelm arch-rival Lyceum Northwestern University Dukes, 87-75, to clinch the Region 1-Cordillera Higher Education Schools Athletic Association Basketball League title in a knockout game held at Dagupan People’s Astrodome on October 2.
Hungry for a championship victory after two years of drought, the Perez Blvd-based multi-titled Tigers of coach Byron Vidal never gave the Dukes a chance to take the lead in the first three quarters with its five key players pumping in double figures spearheaded by Reynaldo Ballesteros with 21 marks, 16 at the second half, Jeremy Sapigao with 13, Mario Torio and Johnrem Estabillo contributing 12 points apiece, while Doming Meneses had 11.
“We beat them because of aggressiveness, defense and endurance of my boys,” Vidal said as he pointed out that the Dukes had seasoned veteran players on its bench.
“This is a prestigious title for us since LNU is a respected team in the region,” quipped Tigers’ manager Renato “Jack” Vidal.
According to the League Commissioner Danny Soria, despite the Dukes’ loss, LNU together with the Tigers will represent Region 1 and Cordillera region for a clash with the top two contenders in Central Luzon on November 27-29 in Dagupan City.
Doria said whoever wins will face the best of Southern Luzon on November 30 that will be held at the Dagupan People’s Astrodome. (Jesus Garcia, Jr.)