COMPLACENCY almost denied host Corpus Christi School (CCS) Baby Knights of the 12-under crown in the HNH President's Friendship Cup 2019-20 2nd Season, which concluded on Sunday, February 9, at the Corpus Christi gym, Cagayan de Oro City.
Paired against the visiting Bethel Baptist School from Valencia City, Bukidnon in a one-off title showdown, the Baby Knights showed a superlative form, taking the first quarter, 23-14 and second frame, 18-8 for a commanding 19-point halftime lead, 41-22.
But fielding Corpus Christi's second stringers, the home fans were on their feet as the never-say-die Bethel toddlers clawed back, imposing their will in third canto, 18-13 and a much more dominant show in the final fourth quarter, 32-19.
It was, however, in less than five seconds of play in the homestretch that the Bukidnon boys sent shivers down the spine of the Baby Knights when the 1-2 combo of Andoy and Idulsa scored four-straight points off the hustles to cut Corpus lead down to one with time ticking away.
The final score, 73-72 still in favor of Corpus Christi.
"If there was another five seconds left, madisgrasya gyod ang Corpus kay wala na ang momentum sa ila," one spectator from Bukidnon bench was overheard as saying.
Bethel's fierce rally had also almost put to waste the monstrous production of Charles Edward Olango, who piled up 30 points to be in the Mythical 5 and eventually earned another Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy.
"Mao na kasagaran gakahitabo sa ila kumpyansa pag labaw na," Corpus team owner Dr. Alfonso del Fierro could hardly fix a smile as he commented from the foreground bleacher.
Coach Carlo Dagalea, who was assisted by Trim Pagente on the bench, later shared the "wind of change" had completely caught him by surprise.
"Ambot adto wala ko kasabot nagpasulod mi'g second stringers mora'g daug naman gud," Dagalea told SunStar Cagayan de Oro without elaborating.
The Bethel Baptist hoopsters could not help but broke down in tears for falling short of a great comeback by "nary a second."
Mythical 5's pick Yusri Amsani and Fil Auctavio Autor backed Olango's 30 with 13 and 10 points apiece.
Bethel got 21, 15, 12 and 10 markers each from Idulsa, Andoy, Baltazar and Reambonanza.
Completing the Baby Knights' triumphant cast are Sal Andre Mann, Reighan Ansley Salvaleon, Joven Abuhan, Alan Xander Ureta, Jedrick Juntilla, Zachheus Pilayre, Ronnel Jud Daniel, Arafat Capal, Kharl Ortiz, Rylle Tan, Jerry Poe Manzano and Ali Rob Tyler Go.
Tournament director Stephen "Kuya Popong" Dacoco and technical chief Joseph "Loloy" Estroga joined HNH hoops' founding head Engr. Francis Alvin Rafols in presiding over the awards rites in the presence of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno.
12 under final
Corpus Christi School 73 -- Olango 30, Amsani 13, Autor 10, Tan 5, Abuhan 5, Mann 4, Salvaleon 2, Ureta 2, Juntilla 2.
Bethel Baptist School 72 -- Idulsa 21, Andoy 15, Baltazar 12, Reambonanza 10, Pacana 6, Tala-on 6, Vargas 2.