Sports Eye

3rd Governor’s Cup cagefest kicks off

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

ORIGINALLY scheduled last October, the much-awaited third season of the annual Governor’s CupInter-Town/City Basketball Tournament finally kicked off last December 8 at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center in Lingayen. Like the first two edition sof the very successful league, I was there for the opening ceremony and the first three games of the day. Our energetic and sports-buff Pangasinan chief executive Amado “Pogi” I. Espino, III, delivered an inspiring message to the cagers, coaches, managers, officials and supporters of the tournament. He underscored the significance of the tourney that will be conducted in different towns and cities in the province – to play fairly and respect each other. He congratulated all the teams that participated last year, especially the winners, particularly the defending champion, Lingayen. But what the participants liked most was Gov. Pogi’s announcement that the cash prize for the champion has been increased toP300k from P250k.  The head of the organizing committee, Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) executive officer Modesto Operania, delivered the welcome remarks.

However, I noted that the number of teams participating this year are far less than last year, only 24 towns compared to last year’s 35. “Sa tingin ko nahaluan yata ng politika ang magandang liga, palibhasa kasi malapit na ang eleksyon,” said spectator Federico de Guzman of Lingayen.

It could be, and if that’s true, they’re terribly wrong. Politics should not be mixed with sports.

Kung minsan hindi mo maiiwasan yan, kasi parang kultura na nating Pilipino yan lalo na kung malapit na ang eleksyon. Pero para sa akin ay mali parin,” media man Joel Balolong said.

Back to the games, the first salvo of the day was a surprising victory of underrated teams like Anda edging Labrador, 87-84, Malasiqui routing title-contender San Carlos City, 90-76, and Bautista that surged ahead in the fourth and final quarter to pinch Alcala, 114-111.

It was a close and tight contests in the first four of five skirmishes on the second day.  Back-to-back first runner-up Manaoag subdued Bayambang, 79-72, Villasis repulsed Asingan, 104-99, Tayug trimmed San Nicolas, 87-83, and Mangatarem tamed Sual, 97-93. As expected, my town Mangaldan was clobbered by first edition champion Binmaley, 86-72. Anyway, these were just their first games and anything can still happen, so expect another unexpected upsets. Hostilities continue in Sual and Mangatarem gyms onDecember 15 and 16, respectively.

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Number 73 is so meaningful and memorable to me. I won my first of three championships in the fabled 1973 Tour of Luzon. And I’m happily turning 73 years old on December 18. For all these blessings, I thank our Creator and Our Lady of Manaoag Mama Mary. To celebrate, I plan to hold a simple bikefest with cash prizes, trophies, medals at stake and dubbed as “Golden 73-A Gift for Long Life by Excellent Noodles”(Jess Garcia, Jr. Cycling Classic).

It will start and finish in Barangay Buenlag, Mangaldan, where I was born and raised. There will be three categories and my principal sponsor will be Excellent Noodles, supported by businessman and avid sportsman Charlie “Atong” Ang and Engr. “Boy”Dion.  After the race, it’ll be party time. See you there, cycling fans.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. PHILIPPIANS 2: 6-7

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