RELYING on the giant efforts of their small men, Team Orange notched its second-straight win via a 73-62 steam-rolling of Team Red in the every Saturday 2019 Ballpals Anniversary Games at Pelaez Sports Center in Cagayan de Oro City.
The backcourt tandem of Nanding Abapo and Stev Panaz delivered 27 and 20 points each to also mark the triumphant return of comebacking Ballpals cager Dodong Bonete at the club's original Palaro venue.
"Around past 10 years na akong last nga dula dire sa Palaro Center. So, winning in my comeback trail as a Ballpals player is quite nostalgic," said the 40-something Bonete, a lawyer by profession.
"In the first two games sa Orange team ni-skip ko para maka-jogging jogging sa di makuratan kay taas na baya atong edad," added the former senior varsity stalwart of Liceo de Cagayan University, who debuted with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Also victorious in his first outing with the Orange team is the ageless Gerardo `GAT' Tamayo of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI-10), whose big rebounding play and defense was crucial in neutralizing Team Red's final half comeback.
"Kon wala nakaapas si Kuya Tamayo ug ang isa pa ka veteran center (Vulture Balabat) tuloy-tuloy gyod nga maka-recover ang Red kay kapoy na kaayo," said Orange team skipper Bong Mercado.
The fast-breaking Stev Panaz and Abapo immediately waxed hot with 16 and 12 markers apiece that gave Team Orange a twin-digit lead at the half.
But forward Gary Mejos and slotman Toton Quijada arrived to ignite an 8-0 run for Team Red that broke the game wide-open at the start of the final half.
"Kulang pa gyod sa stamina, wala nalahos among rally," said Team Red pointguard Winnie Daba.
Bagayna, Balabat, Bonete, Mercado and Tamayo came up with a combined 30 for Team Orange's solid comeback from an opening round loss to reigning titlist Team Black of WingMerk Mercado and Archer Lingaton.
Mejos paced Team Red with 18 points, while Larry Acaylar, Dencio Villamor, Sabayton and Edward Baculio added 8, 7, 6 and 5 markers, respectively.
Tournament commissioner Andit Mendoza said there will be no regular games for Ballpals starting April 15 in observance of the Holy Week or lenten season. Games will resume at Pelaez Sports Center on April 23.