NOW on its fifth year, the St. Ignatius de Loyola Cup 2010, which attracted a total of 44 teams had made another revelation at the Xavier University gym here.

After its month-long elimination games, public school dribblers from Cagayan de Oro National High School "City High" have surprisingly stood among the best performing teams, even making it to the championship round in at least two categories.

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"So dili na completely dominated sa mga varsity players from private schools ang Loyola Cup karon. And it amazed us nga ga-respond na sa challenge ang public teams especially ang City High," tournament commissioner Arvin Martinez told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

City High dribblers will dispute the Loyola Cup championship games in 14-under B bracket against fellow newcomer Pilgrim High School and in 18-under A level opposite the proud host, Xavier University.

Also hitching a ride in the finals set on Saturday (March 13) starting at 1 p.m. are City High's equal in surprising accomplishment which is the Bukidnon Faith School from Valencia City.

Like the former, Bukidnon Faith has also two entries in the finals against Sacred Heart in 14-under A and Kong Hua School in 18-under B.

Bukidnon Faith barely made it to the 14-under A finals which comes to fruition following a come-from-behind one-point escape over Xavier University.

The Valencia City-based hoopsters' rematch with Kong Hua for the 18-under B title is surely another exciting event to watch as Bukidnon Faith is still reeling from that heart-breaking elimination round defeat via a buzzer-beating Kong Hua basket.

"Sakit `to nga peldi so expected nga gigil ang Bukidnon nga mobalos," Martinez warned.

Arch rivals Sacred Heart and Xavier University will first take the floor to dispute the 12-under plum, featuring some of the region's qualified elementary basketeers to this year's Palarong Pambansa in Tarlac province.

It was a sweet-shooting victory for XU Junior Crusaders in their semis match with Sacred Heart for the right to face Bukidnon Faith in the 18-under title showdown.

The Crusaders yielded to Sacred Heart in the just-concluded NBTC-D League Cagayan de Oro Finals.

To avoid a repeat of such debacle, coach Manny Diaz had to lean on the fivesome of Kim Paza, Jeff Flores, Vovan Palomar, Dodan Lagbas and Noel Yaranon--all coming in double figures--to bounce back with a 93-69 win over Sacred Heart which played without coach Boy Dacoco.

"For health reason, coach Boy was not able to show up," Martinez relates.

It's going to be XU Senior Crusaders and STI battling it out for the 25-under diadem.

Heavily-undermanned due to injuries and academics-related glitches, the wards of coach Rocky Calingin still managed to defeat the SPC Sharks of coach Along Ebalang, 79-55 in the semifinal round.

The STI College Olympians, mentored by Dante Banquerigo, meanwhile, turned back the challenge of Marawi's MSU Achievers, 81-77 in the other half of the crossover matches.

Tournament director Jerry Erfe said the Loyola Cup is an annual event initiated by the XU Jesuit Community on the "Men and Women for Others" Ignatian Value.

XU President, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin SJ and XU Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Fr. Gorgonio S. Esguerra SJ will be on hand to grace the awarding ceremony along with Eliodoro L. Ferenal, newly-minted Xavier University Athletic Director.