SMS-backed NMRAA now ready for Palaro-A A +A
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
IF ITS hardline stance in the ongoing 2014 Alaska Basketball Cup at Xavier University gym here is any indication then, Northern Mindanao is guaranteed to have a very competitive team in secondary basketball of this year’s Palarong Pambansa in Laguna.
The Palaro-bound NMRAA squad that competes in men’s 22-under bracket instead of the 17-under division showed too much class in its first three outings of the ABC organized by former PBA star Isabelo “Jojo” Lastimosa.
“So far so good that I can only be excited by the way our young Palaro players conduct themselves in the toughest bracket of the Alaska Basketball Cup,” coach Rene Ilogon told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Paired against older players, the St. Mary’s School-bolstered NMRAA dribblers scored a win against two losses in their initial foray in the annual summer league previously known as the Jolas Cup.
Ilogon’s wards stunned Spearheads-Bukidnon, 73-53. But how impressive they were in their breathtaking matches with Lourdes College and host Xavier University Senior Crusaders before going down in defeat.
NMRAA’s fierce rally fell short against Lourdes College beefed up by three cagers from Manila including a former RP Youth mainstay. And taking the heavily-favored XU to overtime, the NMRAA boys even managed to hold a 4-point lead, 84-80 before losing steam (93-89) in the last one minute and 30 seconds of play.
“Our NMRAA boys were in superb condition physically. Gikuyawan gyod si Arvin (Martinez),” Ilogon said of XU’s bench tactician who capitalized NMRAA’s spate of turnovers in the final minute to nail the hard-earned victory.
XU’s biggest lead was at 14 points when NMRAA’s telling defense capped by a booming trey from Canoy forced an overtime.
“Sa ilang (XU) big man lang `mi nalupig. Pero kining ilang exposure sa ABC against much older and more experienced players is a huge factor nga ilang balonon sa Palarong Pambansa. Ako lang gyod gi-emphasize sa ila that every game is a championship game and to never give up until the last buzzer is heard,” Ilogon said. (Lynde Salgados)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 22, 2014.