Urdaneta, Alaminos avenge defeat, force final match
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
AFTER both teams of Urdaneta City and Alaminos City suffered humiliating defeats in the hands of Binmaley and Manaoag teams, respectively, on March 25 in their first of the best-of-three semifinal games of the First Governor’s Cup Inter-Town Basketball Tournament, many felt the two clobbered teams were doomed and would no longer make it to the third and final match. Some even speculated that Binmaley and Manaoag teams would make a sweep of remaining games after they saw how the two teams dominated all the quarters that resulted in double digit wins, 91-78 and 100-84, respectively.
But to the surprise of the doomsayers, the second games the following day saw an energized Urdaneta repulse Binmaley 89-82, while Alaminos thumped the untainted Manaoag, 89-77.
Yes, I watched the two-day affair and keenly observed how the battles were won and lost.
On the first day, the Binmaley five of Mayor Sammy Rosario controlled all the quarters, 22-17, 49-30, 65-47 and 91-78, chiefly courtesy of the two Melendez brothers, Michael and Roxar, who pumped in 34 and 33 points, respectively. It also turned out that what happened to the Binmaley-Urdaneta match would happen during the Manaoag-Alaminos tussle, with Manaoag also dominating all the periods, 25-17, 53-32, 79-61 and 100-84.
Then came the second games on March 26. I noted the huge adjustments in both Urdaneta and Alaminos teams. The Urdaneta boys of Mayor Bong Perez tutored by Sonny de Jesus applied a stifling defense against Binmaley’s key players not only on the Melendez siblings but on all five inside the court to tie the first quarter, 19-19, seized the second by a mere point, 38-37, ten points in the third, 66-56, and never looked back with seven marks conquest, 89-82, to force a knockout match on April 1 at the same venue at 2:00 p.m.
To my pleasant surprise, the same circumstances occurred in the second game of the day, Manaoag vs. Alaminos. Obviously pressured and tensed with a ‘never say die’ stance, the Alaminos cagers, mentored by former PBA player Jun Marzan, applied an early choking resistance from the very start up to the last sound of the bell. Most notable was how Manaoag’s prolific player Joemar Ordoña was marginalized and his output was reduced to just 12 points from 28 in the first game, then took an early lead in the first juncture, 18-14, and enhanced the gap to seven, 38-31, in the first half; sustained the lead 58-50 in the third and never relinquished the front up to the final buzzer with a convincing 89-77 triumph that also pushed them to a winner-take-all match also on April 1 at the same venue.
Our province’ dynamic and sports-minded chief executive Amado “Pogi” Espino III was there and watched the entire skirmishes. Alaminos City veem Anton Perez was also there, representing Mayor Arthur Celeste, to boost the morale of the Hundred Islands boys.
As I write this (March 30), I predict a ‘slam bang’ encounter for the four. While Urdaneta and Alaminos seized the momentum after winning their second meeting but I believe it’d still be anybody’s ballgame. “Bilog ang bola,” as the saying goes. True. Also every referee’s call will be critical and also plays a major role, so the calls should be unimpeachable, if possible. A single ‘bum call’ in the dying minutes or seconds in a close and tense game could result in a mix-up. Huwag naman po sanang mangyari.
* * * *
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. JOHN 18: 37