Teams to beat: Binmaley, Urdaneta City
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
AS EXPECTED, the defending champion Binmaley team of Mayor Sammy Rosario finished its last two assignments by beating Asingan through default (20-0) on February 24 and Bayambang by six marks, 103-97, on February 25, to remain untarnished since the start of the 2nd Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament on January 28, topping the Group A quarterfinals.
Binmaley, effectively, earned the twice-to-beat-advantage against fourth placer Mangaldan in the Magic Round to commence on March 3 at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) in Lingayen.
Last season’s first runner-up Manaoag that suffered its lone defeat to Binmaley (92-83) last February 4, also peaked in its last two games in Group A quarterfinals in a convincing fashion by smothering Mangaldan, 125-103, on February 24 and title-contender Alaminos City, 109-89, on February 25. Like Binmaley, Manaoag gained the twice-to-beat-incentive pitting anew arch-rival and quarterfinalist third placer Alaminos in the first game of four scheduled skirmishes on March 3, 9:00 a.m. at NRSCC. In case Mangaldan and or Alaminos win, a knockout game will ensue the following day, (March 4).
Same format, same venue and same date for the top four Group B quarterfinals winners with Urdaneta City (7-1 win-loss record) facing fourth placer Mangatarem (5-3) at second game (10:30 a.m.). Lingayen (7-1) being the host will be the main event of the day to meet once more their quarterfinals tormentor, the raging Sto. Tomas, (7-1).
The top two winners of each group advance to the semifinals, according to the league overall commissioner Dr. Edilberto Abalos.
I’m predicting that NRSCC will be filled again to the rafters since the venue is so accessible to Binmaley and Lingayen. See you there my co-basketball aficionados.
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By the time you read this piece, the 12-day 2018 Ronda Pilipinas had already started in Vigan City on March 3. Sadly, for the third consecutive year, there will be no Ronda stage finish or start in any town in Pangasinan despite our province being touted as the breeding ground of Philippine cycling, then and until now. Same thing for Baguio City. There will be no stages there as well. I don’t know why.
Cycling scribes and enthusiasts say that sans Baguio stage, the race cannot be considered a complete cycling marathon. I agree because even just a single Baguio stage be very crucial and important to all the participants. Without a doubt, a Baguio stage would have separated the men from the boys because of the stiff climbs. So one cannot claim to be a true champion unless one can prove that he has the mountain climbing prowess and only can prove that. Indeed, a Baguio stage is so vital in any Tour like Ronda. May malaking kulang ‘ika nga kapag walang Baguio stage.
Since Ronda is not sanctioned by the world cycling governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), I believe this is the main reason why our three potential riders Domique Perez of Sto. Tomas, Bonjoe Martin of Villasis and the youthful Daniel Ven Cariño of Mangaldan and three Novo Ecijanos Rustom Lim, Arjay Peralta and Marcelo Felipe preferred to join the UCI sanctioned Asia’s most prestigious bikefest the eight-day Tour de Langkawi (March 18-25) with intent to earn points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Good luck to our 10 local boys in Ronda and our three in Langkawi.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ROMANS 6: 23
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