Sports Eye

Lingayen quintet seeks back-to-back wins

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

BY the time you read this piece, the boys of head coach Jason Vinluan of Lingayen team are already playing with all their might, defending their tiara that they won last season. They are seeking a back-to-back win in the annual Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/CityBasketball Tournament that started last December 8 at Narciso Ramos Sports andCivic Center (NRSCC) gym. Of course, being the defending titlists and playing in their own backyard, it’s a must-win game for them especially because it is their first match as defending champions.  Of course, there is the pressure to avoid the humiliation of losing in front of their kabaleyans. That’s my reading of Vinulan the last time I talked to him.

The Lingayen squad snatched its first championship last season after conquering the defending titleholder Binmaley in the best-of-three series of semis. They lost the first skirmish, avenged the second game and eventually won the third and final match with a heartbreaking score, 79-77. Just like their game against Binmaley in the semis, Lingayen won the first encounter in their quest for the championship against the 2016-2017 season first runner-up Manaoag. in the third and final match, 93-82, to climb to the finals. Lingayen lost the second meeting, but with ‘lady luck’ or whatever, the gritty Lingayen boys bounced back with lots of ammunition to overwhelm Manaoag, 117-92 to the delight of the Lingayen fans.

Those were epic battles orchestrated by Vinluan against Binmaley in the semis and Manaoag in the finals which I will never forget about the provincial wide inter-town/city caging. Those intensities of those games never happened in previous tournaments. Fact was, Manaoag was close to winning. the title in the second season after easily demolishing title-contender Urdaneta City. But it was the unheralded Lingayen that suddenly soared high in the finals and fashioned out an unforgettable impact on the two-year old league, greater than what Manaoag did when it defeated Urdaneta City in the other semis bracket.“Expect the unexpected,” as the saying goes. The underdog Lingayen fighting with a lot of grit, surpassed itself and saved itself the humiliation of being decimated in their own turf. I doff my hat for them.

Vinulan, confidently told this writer that his team was set to do battle, even with four new recruits that replaced his four overage veteran players. He said they are ready to defend their hard-earned crown, and are looking forward to being the first to do a back-to-back win in the annual league organized by the Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) headed by our energetic Gov. Amado“Pogi” I. Espino, III. But unlike last year there are only 25 towns and cities this time that confirmed their participation, compared to last year’s 35 teams.I presume it’s because of politics. Remember, election is just around the corner.

Let’s wait and see. But I have no doubt it will be another successful affair under the supervision of PSDMC executive officer Modesto Operania and his deputy Marlon Domalanta. Basketball fans will continue to be treated to a basketball tournament with a lot of action and surprises just like the last two editions. See you there at NRSCC.

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QUOTEOF THE WEEK:And Jesus Christ said, “Let all bitterness,wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Godin Christ forgave you.” EPHESIANS 4:31-32

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