Foiled grandslam-A A +A
Saturday, August 24, 2013
AN ALL-STAR cast. You may call it a powerhouse. Defending champion The Royal Mandaya Hotel-City Mayor's Office (TRMH-CMO) meant business in keeping their crown as they assembled their yet most formidable line-up ever.
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League's seven-footer Greg Slaughter and six-foot-seven Ian Sangalang of the NLEX Road Warriors joined the roster that also paraded the services of former Rain or Shine import Jamelle Cornley along with Ramsey Williams, Hercules "Jojo" Tangkay, JR Gerilla, Chris Calaguio, Mark Magsumbol, Lou Gatumbato, Mark Andaya, San Sebastian College burly forward Dexter Maiquez, Andrew Avellanoza, Chester Tolomia, and Al Vergara.
Some of them had stints in the PBA, Asean Basketball League and PBA D-League. They are indeed veterans who were hoped to fulfill TRMH-CMO's grand slam dream in the 2013 Mayor Rody and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte Basketball Invitational Basketball Tournament set August 17 to 20.
The Christopher "Bong" Go-managed team, owned by Glenn and Gerome Escandor, had won the championship titles of the 2012 Kadayawan and 2013 Araw ng Dabaw tournaments. Another title in this year's Kadayawan would have catapulted them to grand slam status.
But all that is over the brink now. The championship match was not even played. TRMH-CMO was denied the chance to keep its title this time as the annual cagefest organized to entertain basketball-loving Dabawenyos was marred by an alleged game-fixing controversy involving two other teams that resulted to the cancellation of games on the last day of the tournament.
TRMH-CMO head coach Miguel Solitaria said on Saturday, "The whole team was so eager to defend the Kadayawan title. We really prepared for it pero syempre hindi maiiwasan na paminsan-minsan we really have to deal with unfortunate situations. I hope the issue gets resolved and no more incident like this will happen in the future."
But Solitaria maintained that TRMH-CMO will be ready to defend its Kadayawan or Araw titles when they are given the opportunity to do so.
Glenn Escandor, in a recent talk with sportswriters, said he will continue to form a strong team in city-funded tournaments to give Dabawenyos quality and entertaining basketball.
"It's very unfortunate that we didn't have the chance to win that grand slam this year but maybe next time," Escandor said after the friendly game played between TRMH-CMO and Omega Pain Killer of Cebu at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center on the night that the championship was supposed to be played.
It was a "sad day for Davao basketball" to borrow the statement of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Davao Region legal counsel Ruben Abarquez.
But then again, it's time to move on. Basketball will still be the number one sport in Davao City. It is, however, hoped that the probe on "game-fixing" will prosper and culprits be dealt with to keep the purity of basketball as a sport.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2013.