Sports Eye

Lingayen and Manaoag fives stay untarnished

By Jesus A. Garcia, Jr.

THE teams of defending champion Lingayen and two-time first runner-up Manaoag continue to live up their billing as the top two seeded squads in the 3rd Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament. The won all their games in their respective brackets during the elimination round and still continue to maintain their supremacy in the league by pocketing all their first four games in the quarterfinals to stay untarnished.

I missed the first two days of the hostilities of group A and B quarterfinals last February 23 and 24 because of the groundwork that I had to do for the 42nd Werweran ed Mangaldan 2019 which I organized and staged on February 25. I only managed to watch the third and fourth days of the hostilities at the Calasiao Sports Complex and Manaoag gym on March 2 and 3 where I  saw how the Lingayen team fought with a come-from-behind hard-earned, 106-102, victory over the rejuvenated and revitalized Bayambang five. Down by 20 points,19-39, after the first quarter, I saw how the unfazed Lingayen boys of head coach Jason Vinluan displayed their intensity, superiority and supremacy by slowly and surely obliterating the Bayambang lead in the second and third quarters, 60-53, 80-79, and eventually the victor by four points. As expected, last season’s MVP (Most Valuable Player) and three-point specialist Marben Mamaril was the hero of the match, draining 27 points including the last two free throws he made 17.3 seconds left to seal the clash. Lingayen’s next opponent is second placer is my town Mangaldan at the Urdaneta City Cultural and Sports Center at 9:00 a.m. This will be another slam-bang battle and Lingayen being the reigning titlist is slightly favored to win the bout. Other group A games in Urdaneta City will be Bayambang vs Aguilar and the host against Tayug.

What happened to Lingayen is quite different from Manaoag. Fresh from its overwhelming win against co-title challenger Sto. Tomas, 109-85, on March 2, the Manaoag boys of head coach Ferdinand Mangonon clobbered co-group B leader Sual from the start to finish, 25-13, 49-35, 73- 56 and finally 101-79. The 22-wide margin surprised me because I knew that Sual had improved tremendously this season having beaten all its first two rivals: edging the invigorated Malasiqui, 90-86, and nipped its former conqueror, perennial title-contender and neighbor place Alaminos City, 78-76. I guess the moral support of the boisterous hometown crowd intimidated them.

Manaoag’s two next foes on March 9 and 10 will be against underrated Mangatarem and Asingan to be conducted at the Bautista gym. Asingan lost to Malasiqui, 109-116, held at NRSCC gym last March 2. But it failed to play its match against Alaminos City on March 3 at the Manaoag gym. It’s still puzzling to me why Asingan decided not play its fourth game.

The Alaminos City-Sto. Tomas tussle on March 10 at Bautista gym is expected to be another blockbuster match. The Sto. Tomas five may still be mourning the passing of their big supporter and former hizzoner Antonio “Bebot” Villar, Jr. last March 1 and may try to win if in his memory.

 The last scheduled game of the day will be the host Bautista versus Malasiqui which I believe will be another close encounter. Like Alaminos City and Mangatarem, Malasiqui needs two victories to gain entry to the Magic 4 and qualify for the next round while Bautista is frittering away, having lost all its first four matches. See you in Urdaneta City.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And God’s prophet Moses said, ‘You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’ DEUTERONOMY 1: 17

                                                              Group A Quarterfinals
                                                              Ranking of Teams (As of March 3, 2019)

TEAM                                                                            WIN                         LOSS
Lingayen                                                                     4                                  0
Mangaldan                                                                    2                                  1
Urdaneta City                                             2                                  1
Bayambang                                                                   2                                  2
Tayug                                                                               1                                  2
Calasiao                                                                          1                                  3
Aguilar                                                            0                                  3
                                                               Group B Quarterfinals
Manaoag                                                                         4                                  0
Sto. Tomas                                                                     3                                  1
Sual                                                                                  3                                  1
Alaminos City                                                              2                                  2
Malasiqui                                                                       2                                 2
Mangatarem                                                                 2                                  2
Bautista                                                                         0                                 4
Asingan                                                                       0                    4                                                                
                                                                                               (By Jesus Garcia, Jr.)

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