2017’s top local sports events
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
YEAR 2017 is gone, welcome 2018, “Year of the Dog,” as the Chinese say. Although with skepticism, I wish and hope 2018 will really be a prosperous year for all of us. To God be the glory.
Looking back at our province’s sports events in 2017, I believe all the sports competitions assiduously organized by our sports-minded father of the province Gov. Amado “Pogi” Espino, III, were all successful and met all the objectives set under the umbrella of Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC), headed by Modesto Operania as the chief executive officer and assisted by his reliable staff headed by Marlon Domalanta, Renz Posadas, Henry Ecleto, Nol Bravo, Romel Bautista, Robert Vinluan, Danny Claveria, John Carlo Bautista.
First and foremost was the first edition of the Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament that drew thousands of spectators to the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) in Lingayen to watch the semifinals and the championship battles. These were also shown live on Facebook. I saw it how the boys of Binmaley Mayor Sammy Rosario starred by the Melendez siblings, the LNU varsity dribblers Roxar and Mark, won the coveted best-of-three championship series over Manaoag to the delight of the partisan and boisterous crowd. Yes, Manaoag took the first game, 97-93, but Binmaley convincingly snatched the second match, 82-69, and the third and final hostility, 76-67. Believe me, the do-or-die third skirmish was the largest crowd that I ever observed in my life here in our province as far as basketball game is concerned, surpassing the number of fans that watched PRISAA and UCAAP finals. NRSCC overflowed while thousands more conveniently watched the match the game on Facebook via the big screen installed by the provincial government. That was really amazing. There were no untoward incidents under the watch of Commissioner Edil Abalos. The PSDMC also featured new events like the slam dunk contest won by Denver Suratos of Sta. Barbara team, and the 3-point shootout won by Lorence Batalla of Urdaneta City squad.
I also covered the First Governor’s Cup Inter-LGU Unity Games directed by Ronald Padilla that saw Urdaneta City win the basketball Division 1 pennant and Urbiztondo topping the Division II. Alaminos City and Burgos ruled the volleyball divisions I and II, respectively.
The inter-agency basketball won by the province’s two crime busters PNP B and its brother team PNP A. DPWH was third.
An open cycling road race called “I Love Pangasinan Cycling Classic” with this writer as the race director was staged on May 28. It started and finished in Lingayen. Unfortunately, despite the passion of Pangasinenses for this two-wheeled event considered as our second favorite sport after basketball, two visitors with international experiences Rustom Lim and Nelson Martin both from Nueva Ecija, finished first and second respectively, in the 194-kilometer road saga. Our best local bet Jay Lampawog of Villasis landed third.
International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia topped the Open category of the 10th Amado Espino Cup Open Chess Championship held in Lingayen last December 8-12. The POGI (Pagalaw tan Ondongan ed Gobyerno Itanduro) Sportsfest was also held.
I’m sure more games will be organized in 2018 under leadership of Gov. Pogi. Mabuhay ka, governor. I doff my hat for you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” MATTHEW 2: 23