Gray Hounds rule 3rd Oro Bankers caging-A A +A
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
CENTER-forward Stephen Go and pointguard Marvin Neri proved that they’re indeed the meanest tandem in the Cagayan de Oro Bankers basketball tournament, even as veteran guard Angel Dollente went on to share Go’s individual feat.
Together, the three of them led the Gray Hounds’ convincing 55-44 shellacking of the Green Hornets to capture the championship ring of the 3rd Oro Bankers hoopfest concluded recently at the Xavier University gym here.
It was a low-scoring ballgame mainly attributed to the opposing teams’ strong defense, though Gray got enough from Go and Neri and a little bit from Dollente.
“When Andolz (Dollente) hit a 3-pointer and Neri made another one to make it 11 points Gray Hounds lead, I secretly mumble that they’re (Hornets) done,” said Gray coach Michael Neri, an officer of BDO Cash Hub Center, who may not be totally into basketball, but is quite familiar with team play fight being a local figure himself in soccer sport.
“Actually, wala ko ga-expect ini nga championship win kay No.5 lang `mi sa standing after the elimination round,” said team-playing manager Erol Gabe, head for Mindanao Area of Asia United Bank (AUB), adding “that will explain why now pa lang gyod `mi naka-celebrate.”
The Blue Marlins, who failed miserably in the playoff round minus top gunner Ryan Arpay, had earlier found the Yellow Dragons without star center and reigning MVP Erwin Raagas in the battle for third place.
That was enough a spark as Pasio Valencia immediately rifled in back-to-back treys from the opening buzzer to set the tone for the Blue Marlins’ 70-63 win against the “Amazing” Charome Marte and the Yellow Dragons who considered themselves as the referees’ most hated team in sight.
“It’s over now and it’s very frustrating kay among mga dula up to the semifinal round puro crucial ang tawag and our defeats were all in narrow margins,” shared Alvin Pastor, who along with Michael Jandayan and Marte, came up with a combined 40 for Yellow’s losing cause.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Yellow Dragons actually threatened to make a breakthrough when they managed to rally from behind and even held a 3-point lead. But Gerald Crisostomo heaved a triple for an equalizer and the sudden shift of momentum.
“Pag-start pa lang, nabuhi among dugo after learning that Erwin (Raagas) was not around,” said Blue team skipper Anton Pabillore.
“It’s better to win a third-place honor than to lose in a championship,” Pabillore quoted the red-hot Valencia as saying. Valencia knocked in a total of 28 points that earned for him a spot in the Mythical 5.
Feeling the Gray Hounds had belittled their ability to rise up to the challenge, coach Monching Banaag and semifinal hero Janjan Hengania made a heart-to-heart talk with fellow Hornets in a pre-game huddle. They intend to limit the numbers of Go and Neri with their so-called “gapos defense.” But with Dollente and the rest of the Gray Hounds stringers committing to confine their jobs as effective role players, Go and Neri were still able to come up with 22 and 21 points each.
“We’re almost counted out after our listless show in the elimination round. Our defeat made us frustrated. But out from those frustrations we learned from our mistakes. Then. We conquered our foes. As one pack, we’re like gallant Greyhounds, moved forward and kept higher in every gallop. It was through believing in ourselves that made us winners. And it was our respect to each other that made us champions,” Dollente told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
When asked to comment about being one of only two bankers (alongside White and now Gray teammate Go) who recorded a grandslam, the sweet-shooting Dolente said: “While it is not easy to become a champion, it’s a lot damn harder to become one for three consecutive years.”
Completing Gray’s winning roster are Rey Dela Cruz, Jerome Comia, Jan Ritardo, Ferdinand Dadulo, Paolo dela Vega, Ian Baltazar, Sonny Caingin and Troy Achivida.
Tournament commissioner Jessie Tolod presided over the awarding ceremony that feted Go as the hands-down MVP and Mythical 5 in the company of Neri and Green’s James Simon and Hengania with another Green player Mark Roa as Top Rookie.
The scores: For third
Blue Marlins 70—Valencia 28, Sausal 11, Crisostomo 9, Deguit 7, Galapate 6, Espinoza 6, Galenada 2, Pabillore 1, Balabag 0, Jardin 0, Bation 0.
Yellow Dragons 63—Jandayan 16, Pastor 13, Marte 11, Nazareno 7, Ostrea 7, Yacapin 5, Lasmarias 4, Lim 0, Aleria 0, Bajao 0.
Gray Hounds 55—Go 22, Neri 21, Dollente 8, Vart 4, Caingin 0, Dadolo 0, Dela Vega 0, Dela Cruz 0, Baltazar 0, Achevira 0.
Green Hornets 44—Simon 15, Hengania 10, Galarpe 10, Conol 5, Rontal 2, Anthony 2, Roa 0, Manila 0, Meralles 0, Cheng 0, Lipoy 0, Versagas 0, Banaag.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 10, 2013.