Stupendous victory by LNU Dukes
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
“EXPECT the unexpected” as the saying goes. And that’s what happened during the duel of the province’s two titans in college basketball that saw the Lyceum Northwestern University Dukes of Atty. Gonzalo Duque totally drenching the blazing fire of UPang-PHINMA Flames, 93-49, in the second game of the 2014 UCAAP Jimmy Fernandez Basketball Challenge championship match held at Dagupan People’s Astrodome last October 20.
Yes, from the time I returned in 1993, I never failed to watch a championship clash in basketball whether it’s SK inter-towns or cities skirmishes or a college scrimmages. And last Monday was the most lopsided finals’ match that I ever watched with the Flames losing by 44 points. The match turned to be surprisingly devastating that shocked the spectators, including this writer, from the start up to the last buzzer. I believe the 44-point margin of difference is a new record and could never be forgotten in any local championship clash including MCAAD (Metro Colleges Athletic Association of Dagupan) dominated by UPang and the PRISAA conquered by University of Luzon.
The winning margin reminds me of the lopsided win of USA, 129-92, victory over Serbia to win the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Yes, the Dukes suffered their lone setback against their nemesis during the elimination round, 95-84, and avenged that defeat during their first game in the finals by some coincidence, score 95-84. But in their second game, I saw how the sweet-shooting and smothering defense of the boys of head coach Angel Gumarang pummeled the luckless and erratic lads of head-guru Jay Ronquillo that I believe caused them their humiliating crush. A fierce, close quarter battle was expected to happen but that did not happen. Remember, the Dukes bagged the first runner-up honor in the 2013 National PRISAA Games under the tutelage of Gumarang and their tenacity was still there and their attack and defense spearheaded by Alexander Andrade even vastly improved.
And now they are ready to represent our province in the coming Philippine Collegiate Champions’ League (PCCL) North-Central Area Tournament which will be hosted by Dagupan City on November 2-5 at Dagupan People’s Astrodome. The Dukes will face the best of Cordillera region, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Zambales and Pampanga. If lucky enough to win the plum, Gumarang said his squad will sojourn to Naga City to do battle against the top of southern Luzon-Bicol teams before entering their most important joust Manila if fortunate to win in the south. As far as I know, no team from north and central Luzon area has ever entered the hostilities in Manila that PCCL calls “Sweet Sixteen.” As the Good Book says, “Prayers can move the mountains,” let us pray for their victory in their next assignments because their triumphs will also be ours. I have a strong feeling that if they play like how they played against the Flames, they won’ have much of a problem beating the teams of our neighboring provinces. Being a former athlete I firmly believe that health conditioning is one of the most important things to do for the Dukes. That will also be the job of their foreign conditioning coach named Obinnah Winners, a former football player in his country.
My big congrats to the team headed by LNU prexy Gonz, LNU’s athletic director Nanoy Duque, Gumarang (for bagging “Best Coach” award), his assistant coaches Gilmark Meneses, Julius Puzon and associates Arnold Subang and Edwin Sandoval.
Season’s MVP won by Rodcel Yanga and finals’ MVP achieved by Alexander Andrade and were automatically chosen as members of ‘Mythical Five’ with George Alipio all from Dukes together with Patrick L. Lobrera of AIE College and Joini Laca of Flames. It’s a job very well done. Good luck Dukes and bring home the bacon.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” EZEKIEL 36: 11
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