THE M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños showed glimpses of the things they can do this season as they humbled the Trace Laguna Stallions, 83-63, to win the pre-season tournament at the Cebu Coliseum last night.
Armed with brand-new shooting prowess, the Niños started a 9-2 blitz and never looked back despite the tremendous efforts of the Stallions to put up a good show.
“We emphasized shooting, especially by our big men, in our practices. We gave them a lot of shooting drills with emphasis on Abby Santos and Nat Cruz, and tonight they showed it and I think we are ready for the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas team next week,” said Niños coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba after the game.
While the Niños played the game with much gusto, it was the Stallions who were surprised by the quickness and agility of the Cebuanos.
“Our big men were agile, that’s why we can switch most of the time. Still we are about 75 to 80 percent ready for the Liga Pilipinas Conference 4 opening,” said Alcoseba.
With the fourth conference of the community-based regional basketball set to open in April yet, the Niños need to be in tip top shape, so they will play a series of
matches next week against Smart Gilas on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27.
The quickness and tenacity of the Niños completely overwhelmed the Stallions. However, unlike the previous years, the fans stayed until the final buzzer to see what more the Cebu squad can do against a limping opponent.
Santos scored the game high 14 points, Richard Ian Saladaga contributed 12 and Bruce Dacia had 11 for Cebu.
In contrast, no player from Laguna scored in double digits.