DAVAO'S basketball team going to the finals versus the NCAA champion San Sebastian College to the recent Ched National Games considered it the squad's best showing in years in a competition that was hard-fought even at the regional level.
Coach Cholo Elegino looks unperturb mentoring his wards agains such a formidable Manila basketball team with Ato Agustin as coach, former three-time most valuable player in the pro league.
The night before, the Davao Region selection showed great confidence but unsure of the things to come in the morning of the championship encounter against the taller and heftier Sanggalang-Abueva tandem.
Beating the Visayas champions West Negros in a come-from-behind struggle from the first quarter to the dying minutes in the semi-finals was sort of a great relief for the motley crowd of Davao fans composed mostly of parents and friends.
Coach Cholo applied the patience of a cat in allowing the spirited Ilongos to lead by as much as 12 points and cut the lead little by little down the stretch until Arnold Adormeo was all set to step up on his gas and give us the first tie of the game with Madelo and Solitaria taking on matters into their own hands for the winning score.
Against NCR the following day, Adormeo and Solitaria showd they can break the tight defense of the NCAA champs by applying the same technique used against Visayas promptly cutting the lead to five 19-14 in the first quarter.
Pressure mounted heavily on the side of Ato Agustin and immediately employed Abueva's physical game that should have been called at the very least an unsportsmanlike foul with Solitaria down on the floor for several minutes.
Abueva's elbow was very strong with a hard swing that should have earned for him a trip to the next MMA competition at the MOA. It was made stronger and threatening with the three-man NCR selection of referees, which the Davao visitors consider as one of the big flaws of the national games.
All it takes was Abueva using an MMA-like posturing to douse cold water on the fire in the hearts of such equally talented dribblers like Adormeo, Fernando, Pinto, Torres, Madelo, Guingguing and Solitaria.
That was indeed very formidable for the far-flung sojourners from the south with Manila in dire need of maintaining its dominance and psychological edge starting with the NCR-appointed referees.
Manila, in all aspects of the game, did not want to see being beaten by Davao.
At least, the Davao selection had gone back home safe, sound and whole but let's get to see Ato and Abueva playing here with the same no-fear hairstyle.
Davao Beat: Just be sure that you win because you have created so many enemies.