Manaoag snatched the first match
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THE odds were even for finalists Manaoag and Binmaley before the start of their first game in the best-of-three championship series at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) of the very successfully organized First Governor Amado “Pogi’ Espino, III Cup Inter-Town Basketball Tournament. Yes, I sensed how tense the players of both teams were even just during their warm-up last April 8. The I saw the Binmaley fans from all walks of life filing in to cheer and boost the morale of their squad. In fact, the gym was already bursting in the seams that the gate security guard I talked had problems limiting the entry of more when the gym was already clearly overflowing with spectators. I cannot blame him. Remember, Binmaley is just four kilometers away from the venue.
Manaoag was clearly outnumbered as far as crowd is concerned but it was not enough to be outfought because in the end, it was the determined boys of Mayor Kim Amador that snatched the first match of the series 97-93 victory from the crowd favorite Binmaley.
Manaoag’s center-forward Adrian Serafica scored the first basket of the game. Trailing by six marks halfway of the first period, 10-16, Manaoag engineered a 7-0 binge that turned the match into a seesaw until Manaoag’s Joemar Ordona broke the tie to lead 27-25 at the end of first quarter.
Binmaley seized the front in the second, 47-40, with Lester Soriano and Mark Melendez alternately pacing the onslaught that stunned the Enan Mangonon- mentored Manaoag boys. When Binmaley’s rifleman Roxar Melendez ‘continued missing his dreaded three-point shots, Manaoag’s second pivotman Angelo Aromin led the charge in the third, pumping in eight points consecutively to lead his team take the front by two marks, 72-70, to the immense delight of the minority crowd led by fourth district Board Member Jeremy Rosario cheering, with the right hand pump, ala Pres. Digong Duterte.
The two best teams in the province exchanged point-baskets in the fourth and final part of the game, with the dribblers of Mangonon having the upper hand in the homestretch to win by four, 97-93.
Although the league’s lead scorer Roxar only converted 18 points, missing miserably seven three-point attempts, way below his regular 32 points average, many say the Binmaley boys of hizzoner Sammy Roasario will have their hands smoking in their second match slated on April 22 to force the hostility to a rubber match on April 23.
Well, I say it’s possible but only if Roxar will not be marginalized again like what they did to him last April 8. They’re now the underdog and the pressure is on them. The need to work harder even if ‘luck’ plays a role in it. Let’s wait and see.
Urdaneta City won the battle for third place trouncing Alaminos City starting from the second quarter, 43-40, 71-64 in the third and finally 93-84, starred by its three-point specialist Lorence Batallawho scored a game high 35 points despite his after winning the “Three-Point Shootout” scoring 12 points. His teammate Chuck Barcelona took second with 11 and Lingayen pride Ricardo Vergara third with 10.
Six-foot-two lanky Sta. Barbara son Denver Suratos won the “Slam-Dunk Contest” while Renard Ballesteros finished second and Urdaneta City ace Ismael Sarmiento took third spot.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Then Jesus Christ said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. LUKE 23: 34