Sports Eye

Scrambling to enter semis

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THE  quarterfinals of the Inter-Town Basketball Tournament organized by Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino lll is now at the homestretch. The sixteen teams are bracketed into two groups and only two teams will enter the semifinals.

As of February 25 and 26, clashes held at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center in Lingayen, the Binmaley quintet of former Vice Mayor Jeff delos Angeles still leads in group A despite suffering defeat last Sunday against Bugallon (108-97) and now totes five victories with one loss. Alaminos City, crushed by Binmaley (100-97) two weeks ago, is in second spot with four wins and one loss. Villasis is alone in third place registering three triumphs and two thrashes, while my town Mangaldan is tied with Bugallon carding an identical record of two wins and two crushes.
I’m not belittling the capability of my town Mangaldan and Bugallon but I guess it would already be a gargantuan task for the two squads to enter the semis. Binmaley already bagged the first semifinals slot and only the second berth is up for grabs and Alaminos City and Villasis have the edge. Only two consecutive defeats for Alaminos and Villasis and three convincing victories either for Mangaldan and Bugallon could save them from being bootied out. That will be hard to do for Mangaldan because they have yet to face the surging Villasis and Bugallon in their remaining matches. Let’s wait and see.
On top of Bracket B so far is Manaoag, toting four wins sans loss. Urdaneta,  who suffered its lone defeat to Manaoag a week ago, is alone in the second position, 4-1, and Calasiao is closely behind with 4-2 performace. Lingayen and Sto.Tomas have 2-2 record and the only chance of these two squads is to pray for Manaoag, Urdaneta and Calasiao to lose, and win all their remaining matches. But I guess that’s not likely to happen knowing what the three leading contenders are capable of.
Well perhaps, “expecting the unexpected” can still happen, after all “bilog ang bola” as the Filipino says in basketball. I agree.
I failed to watch the February 26 matches but I was there on February 25 and even had a short chitchat with the sports-minded governor, Pogi, who also watched the skirmishes.I got the official team standing from my friend Henry Escleto, the reliable sports assistant of the sports officials Modesto Operania and Marlon Domalanta.

In particular, I saw how the Alaminos five of head coach and former PBA player Jun Marzan how they overwhelmed my Mangaldan town quintet especially in the fourth and final quarter. Mangaldan leading by four points at the third juncture, 67-63, failed to protect the front and lost by 12 marks in the end. Using his skills being a former professional cager, Marzan orchestrated plays for his team in both offense and defense that rattled and confused the Mangaldanons. Yes, Mangaldan head coach PJ Samson is no match to Marzan in basketball mentoring
Escleto says hostilities will resume on March 12 and venue will be announced later.

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My deepest condolence to the family of Dino Zabala for losing him last February 28. According to JunV, our media colleague Zabala died due to lung failure. May he rest in peace. Pangasinan media is now again in mourning days.

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 QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. PSALMS 34: 15 and 17

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