UL five clinches Excellent Noodles Cup cagefest tiara

By December 5, 2022Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


THE University of Luzon (UL) basketball squad is definitely one of the best cage teams in the province, if not the best. That’s how I view UL being a keen observer of Pangasinan tournaments since I started to write in this weekly paper on July 5, 2005. Yes, the UL five proved their supremacy anew last November 26 by clinching Pangasinan’s newest province-wide tourney dubbed as “Excellent Noodles Cup Pangasinan DBL Inter-Town/City/School U18 Basketball Tournament 2022” repulsing their arch-foe, the Alcala quintet, 97-82, in their second title confrontation best-of-three championship series.

I watched the second duel of the two finalists with UL’s former basketball mentors father-and-son Jack and Byron Vidal among the spectators. Unlike their first meeting when the UL boys of Dagupan City’s ex-councilor Chito Samson grabbed their first game through a tough offensive and defensive tactics of the Eastern Conference champ Alcala, 99-96, via overtime 90-90 score, their second collision was a lopsided match this time. UL unleashed power plays in the first period alone, 23-8, and boosted the gap at the end of the first half to 29 points, 55-26, spearheaded by UL’s forward-center the prolific Datu Mikael Borja. His exemplary effort earned him the Excellent Most Valuable Player (MVP) award by draining 19 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals, and received incentive gifts from Jeverps Manufacturing Corp. (JMC), the maker of Excellent Noodles handed by Dr. Edil Abalos, the chief organizer of the league.

In the entire 40 minutes of the skirmish, the main factor that led to Alcala’s defeat was its 19 passing errors that resulted in UL’s conversion for two points for every Alcala’s blunder through fast break runs. UL committed only 10 miscues. While Alcala defeated UL in the second and last half by 14 points, but not enough to dislodge the province multi-titled UL squad mentored by Mangaldañon former cager Gilmark Meneses. I doff my hat to him for orchestrating excellent basketball chemistry that paved to their triumph. UL was unblemished since the tourney unfurled on September 25 with 10 wins, from the elimination rounds, quarterfinals, semifinals and the Finals.

Though Alcala lost in the boys division, the Alcala lasses won the girls category by sweeping the best-of-three championship series (2-0) edging Umingan, 72-69, to wrest the crown. Lhie Gweneth Arciaga was chosen the Excellent MVP registering 19 marks, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals and also received incentive gifts from JMC presented by Dr. Abalos. See you again next year.

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I was stunned and sad to learn last November 29 from my friend Robert Amado, Jr. of Mapandan that my cumpadre Angel Gumarang, ex-chairman of barangay Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City and longtime basketball mentor of University of Pangasinan and Lyceum Northwestern University met his untimely death due to heart attack. Gumarang, 58, tutored UPang and LNU basketball squads to championship titles twice each, during his heydays in the province’s college and university basketball tournaments. He also made Pangasinan proud by steering the LNU Dukes to a silver medal finish in the PRISAA National Games. The last time I talked to him personally was last June 6 during the fifth birthday celebration of my grandson Jazy Tirona Garcia, Jr. better kanown as “Jj,” the son of Jazy Fernandez Garcia. Gumarang is one of the godfathers of Jazy Jr.

Rest in peace pare Angel. The basketball aficionados, your relatives, your political and media friends will really miss you.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea, it will be done. MATTHEW 21: 21

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