Lingayen vs Manaoag, Urdaneta vs. Sto. Tomas in semis
By Jesus A. Garcia, Jr.
AS I predicted, three of the top-seeded five teams in the 3rd Governor’s Cup Inter-Town/ City Basketball Tournament landed in the top three and advanced to the league’s semifinals. Joining them bagging the fourth and last post was semifinals’ neophyte Sto. Tomas.
Both first edition champion Binmaley and perennial title-challenger Alaminos City were conspicuously not in the winner’s circle. Binmaley was winless (0-6) during the Wild Card round and Alaminos City was eliminated by Bautista in its last game, 70-65, in group B quarterfinals.
The league’s twice runner-up and second-seeded Manaoag boys of veteran coach Ferdinand ‘Enan” Mangonon that enjoyed a twice-to-beat edge for topping the group B quarterfinals, mercilessly clobbered Bautista, 125-77, in their last encounter on March 23 at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) gym in Lingayen to earn the first of two slots of group B for the semis.
Urdaneta City, carrying
also the twice-to-beat incentive for topping group A, lost its first game
against the well-improved Bayambang quintet of hizzoner Cesar T. Quimbao in
overtime, 99-93, but bounced back in their second and last meeting to repulse
the never-say-die Bayambang squad by seven points, 94-87.
However, the most thrilling exciting games were the clashes between Sual and Sto. Tomas on March 23 and 24. Sual having the twice-to-beat advantage for landing second in group B quarterfinals round lost its first outing against Sto. Tomas by four points, 93-89-, and was close to winning the second and final game by leading more than 20 points (I believe 24) in the midway of the match. But the ‘lady luck’ was not on their side as the Sto. Tomas boys of the late Mayor Bebot Villar slowly but surely ate Sual’s huge advantage points. Point-guard Garnet Asuncion became the hero of the day by successfully delivering the ‘Hail Mary’ shot three seconds remaining to lift Sto. Tomas a cliffhanger 95-94 victory to move his team to the semis, their very first after three tries.
At presstime, Henry Escleto of the league’s governing body Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) said the two pairings of the best-of-three semis will be conducted first at Letran Manaoag Gym on March 30 with Urdaneta City and Sto. Tomas opening the curtain at 1:00 p.m. Host Manaoag plays Lingayen at 2:30 p.m.
NRSCC will host the second joust with Urdaneta City vs. Sto. Tomas in the first game at 1:00 p.m. The annual three-point shootout and slam-dunk contest will be staged after the Urdaneta City-Sto. Tomas tussle. Lingayen tangles Manaoag at 3:00 p.m.
Escleto also pointed out that if a third game must be played, it will be held on April 6 and the venue will be announced this week. Hopefully it will be a neutral place. My choice is the Calasiao Sports Complex.
Many say the Lingayen vs. Manaoag is even match and the two can go the whole stretch, from the third to the final match, but it’s not going to happen. For sure there will be no Lingayen vs Manaoag to play in the championship this time. Definitely it will be Lingayen or Manaoag against Urdaneta City or Sto. Tomas for the title.
“The ball is round,” as the saying goes in basketball. I agree. Let’s just wait and see.
* * * *
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (He who
descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might
fill all things.) EPHESIANS 4: 10
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