Sports Eye

How Manaoag 5 won the hard way

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THE second edition of the Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament reeled off last November 18 at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) in Lingayen. As expected, a huge throng attended the opening rite with provincial and municipal officials led by our province’s sports-aficionado, chief executive Gov. Amado I. Espino, III, He was eloquent when he gave an inspirational and meaningful remarks to the competing cagers.

I watched all the games of the eight teams: Manaoag vs. Sto. Tomas, San Quintin vs. Natividad, defending champion Binmaley vs. Bayambang and the last match of the day Alaminos City vs host town Lingayen.

But it was the first skirmish that attracted me the most. The heavily favored and last season’s first runner-up Manaoag boys of hizzoner Kim Amador narrowly escaped an upset 107-93 in overtime. Manaoag trailed the first quarter by two points, 22-24, with Sto. Tomas reliable point-guard Garnet Asuncion leading the assault draining nine points alone to end with a total 15.

Sto. Tomas enjoyed its biggest lead on the second period by eight, 43-35, seven minutes off, but the determined dribblers of head coach Ferdinand “Enan” Mangonon orchestrated a 6-0 run leaving Sto. Tomas trailing anew by two, 45-47, at the half.

Manaoag, after trailing by 9 marks, 57-66, halfway of the third juncture, engineered another successful 6-0 blitz to stalk the driven Sto. Tomas by three, 69-72, end of third.

The ‘never say die’ Manaoag 5 took the lead for the first time, 81-80, with its power-forward Bryan Rosalin pumping in nine points consecutively assisted by the team’s playmaker Manny Santos, who also drainined nine points including two treys.

The battle was tied at 84-84 all, but Asuncion rifled a three-point shot to take the front by three, 87-84. After a miss by Manaoag, Sto. Tomas forward Azzir Rabara nailed a perimeter two points to increase the gap by five, 89-84 that forced Mangonon to call a timeout.

The timeout paid off with Asuncion fouling out and Santos converted two of his three throws and Santos chipped in another two after another miss by Sto. Tomas to trail by mere point, 88-89, 40 ticks remaining.

A timeout was called again 23 seconds left in the regulation time. Obviously disheartened by the fouling out of their skipper Asuncion due to stifling defense of the Manaoag boys, Sto. Tomas misfired another medium range attempt and Manaoag got the board and its forward Angelo Aromin was fouled to take two free throws.

Both teams and the crowd were obviously tense at this time. Aromin converted the first throw and missed the second one 7.2 seconds left. Doral missed the hurried shot two seconds left that forced an overtime.

Dispirited, the Sto. Tomas boys converted only four points in the extra five minutes period while Manaoag sank 18 marks and eventually won by 14 points.

“Patience, discipline and the will-to-win were the key factors why we won the game,” said Mangonon.

“My team was obviously demoralized when our playmaker Asuncion was fouled out,” Sto. Tomas coach and the town’s councilor Jun Oculto said.

In other games of the day, Natividad routed San Quintin, 107-87, Binmaley walloped Bayambang, 98-68, and Lingayen under its new coach and former LNU Dukes mentor Jason Vinluan overwhelmed last season’s third runner-up Alaminos City, 96-75.

“We may not have the height, but we have the speed, shooting and versatility,” said Vinluan.

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“QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and call His name Immanuel. ISAIAH 7: 14

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