Sports Eye

Manaoag, Lingayen beat foes, clash for title

By Jesus Garcia, Jr.

THE Manaoag team of Mayor Kim Amador was in a comfy mode after snatching the first game of the best-of-three semifinal series of this year’s 2nd Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament with its scintillating 90-71 win over arch-foe Urdaneta City on March 10. But to the surprise of many, the Urdaneta boys of Mayor Bobong Perez came back surging like a bull on March 17. Their strong intensity in the second match that pulled off a 98-93 victory forced the third and final bout. After the game, the Manaoag boys were obviously distressed, disturbed and beleaguered but they remained confident that they could still win the third.

And yes, the boys of head coach Ferdinand Mangonon persevered and exacted revenge in their third encounter with a superlative flaunt of play in the last three periods to thwart the reigning eastern Pangasinan champion Urdaneta, 93-82. That sealed anew in this season’s championship for themselves. The reliable Santos rifled a game high 27 points with four treys that did most of the damage to the Urdaneta. But it was the six-foot-three Aldrin Serafica who contributed the most, not only contributing 20 points but also collared 14 boards while forward Angelo Aromin had 16. (Urdaneta’s power-forward Renz Abando did not play due to knee injury. Bryan Rosalin of Manaoag didn’t play as well).

“Hard work, perseverance and most of all the blessing from God made us victorious,” Mangonon joyfully said.

While the Manaoag-Urdaneta tussle did not produce any controversy, it was a different story in the Binmaley-Lingayen tussle that ended in a heartbreaking victory for Lingayen, 79-77. It wasn’t because of the close game from the start up to the final buzzer, but because of the rowdy and disruptive crowd that distracted the game officials, particularly the three arbiters. They were clearly intimidated during the match particularly in the dying minutes of the bout and after the game. I saw it how some of the Binmaleyans mockingly pointed to one of the whistleblowers as the culprit for their team’s debacle.

The clash, which was expected to be a close battle, came into fruition like it did in their last meeting. It was tension-packed from the start with the host Lingayen squad taking the first juncture by four marks, 19-15, starred by Manuelito “Kiko” Arias, Ramil Mendoza and Jesse Artates combining 15 points. In high spirits and inspired by the presence of their town chief executive Sammy Rosario, the defending champion Binmaley boys of mentor Gian delos Angeles wrested the first half, 36-33, spearheaded by the Melendez brothers Mark and Roxar.

Lingayen managed to tie the score in the third, 55-55, led by its four marquee players Arias, Mendoza, Artates and Marvin Mamaril. The deadlock made the match more thrilling and breathtaking. As expected, Mark Melendez led the assault in the first three minutes of the fourth chipping in eight points alone to power Binmaley hike its biggest lead in the game to seven points, 68-61, while his brother Roxar was anemic with just two marks. But it was Mamaril who eventually gave the biggest headache to the Binmaley squad with 15 points of the team’s last quarter 24 points output including the deciding two free throws of Mamaril with 14 seconds left to the delight of Mayor Eday Castañeda’s constituents.

So it’s Manaoag versus Lingayen in the best-of-three championship series. First game will be conducted at Calasiao gym on April 7 at 2:00 p.m., and April 14 at NRSCC. Third game (if necessary) will also held at NRSCC. See you there.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said to Him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believe. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” JOHN 20: 28-29

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