WHEN there’s still time ticking on the clock, indeed miracle can happen in a basketball game.
Coach Rene Ilogon, instant celebrity cager Cancan Alcantara, volunteer organizers and the rest of participants are hoping “miracle” will also do wonder to cancer patients as main beneficiaries of the XU All Stars’ Games for a Cause on Sunday, September 22 at the Xavier University gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
With only one second left, the AMDG (Ad majorem dei gloriam) wards of Ilogon and assistant coach Bryan Bombeo have miracurously survived a 4-point deficit to beat the Magis, 67-66 of coach Ul Chua in what considered now as one of the most unforgettable victories in local basketball scene.
How did it happen?
With the Magis up, 66-62, Roy Egypto was fouled while shooting for three from beyond the arc with just one tick remaining, thereby sending him to the freethrow line.
Egypto missed his first, but sank the next two charities to cut the lead down by two, 64-66 and--in same breath--painting a smile across the face of Ilogon off the AMDG bench.
One may wonder of the unworried gesture as the AMDG team is seemed to be “already finished” with the ball now in the Dandulo Baang-skippered Magis team’s possession with only a second to play.
In fact, the AMDG fans have started vacating their seats in virtual surrender when the magic swan came with a dagger.
In the ensuing inbound play, a Magis cager hurled the ball up near midcourt distance when it was intercepted by Alcantara who swiftly made a 23-foot jumper that hit the board first before falling in for a 3-point count.
Froze for a moment in bewilderment, Ilogon and his charges stormed the officiating table for confirmation then basked in on-court celebration along with the appreciative court-side audience.
“Gitabangan tingali ko ni coach Oca (Abucejo) kay milagro kaayo nga pagdaug,” the 64-year-old Ilogon said in jest, referring to his 2-year senior friend and fellow cage mentor who died recently.
“Actually, .4 second or didyot pa sa one second na lang ang nabilin when AMDG made that one big last shot from afar,” referee Fred “Pims” Pimentel told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
To everyone’s delight, the hero of the game Cancan is the younger brother of Philippine tennis champion Francis Casey `Nino’ Alcantara.
“Walay ka Nino adto (Nino had no feat like that),” said their equally-elated mother Sarah Belle Alcantara in sharing the fun and the laughter with the other parents around.
But turning seriously, both Ilogon and the younger Alcantara make a wish for the cancer patients to also survive life-threatening ordeal through miracle.
“As a varsity player of Ateneo, heart-warming kaayo nga na-part ko ani nga activity especially nga tabang pud ni sa akong mama,” later shared Dandulo, son of Imelda Baang who is a cancer-stricken overseas worker in London.
Dandulo’s two sisters--Maristela and Mary--are also athletes being former volleyball varsity players of Xavier University.
Gem-gem Tero, marketing manager of Uniliver, took the lead in organizing the event which aimed to raise fund to as much as P100,000 from the spectators’ gate donations for the purpose.
In the other headliner, power forward Bee Datuinginoo and shooting guard Noel Yaranon spearheaded the SBM’s (School of Business Management) 66-60 conquest of the College of Arts fronted by strongman Dario Piati and sharpshooter Michael Lee Paayas.
Celebrity performer Arthur Nery also came to spice up the Battle of Influencers between Magis White and AMDG Blue.
“Abi nako kanta ra makabalo man sab gihapon diay mo-dribble unya lutaw sab,” coach Ilogon’s son, Bujie said of the pony-tailed Nery.
Highlighting Sunday’s sports spectacle is the 6-foot-3 Janrey Manatad’s lording it over of the slam-dunk competition.
“I’m happy and thankful that the Xavier community heeded our invitation to take part in this event for a cause. For us, the varsity, student government and partners in organizing the event, basketball is not only something that involves dribbling and shooting but it can go beyond that, it can go as far as character building and playing for a cause,” said XU coach Paul Douglas “Rocky” Calingin, who is also consultant of the Cagayan de Oro City Sports Program.
Completing the cast in basketball are the following: Arts’ Aaron Mercedes, Alain Villanueva, Dario Piati, James Simon, Kim Labitad, Kim Paza, Lee Paayas, Marco Sabal, Mikhail Sabal, Raffy Cabanes, Rumar Poblete, Andre Sabal and SBM’s Bee Datuinginoo, Jawo Demecillo, Oding Nagac, Ul Chua, Money Batalla, Virn Pacifico, Sean Kalinawan, Jordan Paquit, Jed Jaojao, Eph Dahilan, Noel Yaranon, Aerolle Palomar, Ind Cabrezos, Adrian Cabanlit and Vic Tacastacas for the Alumni Rival Game.
Also, Magis’ Kent Delgado, John Rey Manatad, Donn Datinguinoo, Alexander Jegonia, Coco Rosete, Kristopher Tala, Dandulo Baang, Lance Lagbas, Andre Sarria, Bart Amores, Nino Aranado, Wally Luminarias, Niel Eufinado, Ivan Ramirez and AMDG’s Carlo Esquivel, Jester Lozada, Roi Egypto, Ryan Lam, Kent Puertas, Jai Sendaydiego, Earl Areola, Cancan Alcantara, Edryll Moreno, Henry Garcia, Emman Go, Gerald Labitad, Kristian Dablio, Ramon Aguilar and Ben Lagbas for the XU All Star Basketball.