Panes: Pre-empting a championship

OTHER than the clear fact that the Atoms of the Baguio Colleges Technology are making waves by leading the 2014 Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League Eliminations’ win-loss matrix in basketball chalking a number of consecutive victories, the anticipation which pair of teams plays the championship a few months from now appear to have been already etched albeit not yet in stone.

Former titlists Buyagan-based Cordillera Career Development College (CCDC) and UC Jaguars have been waylaid by coach William Antonio’s wards. The Atom’s upcoming tiff against the University of Baguio’s Cardinals, last season’s BBEAL defending champions should be a preview of things that are about to come. Whether or not 2014 crowns a dark horse in BCT remains to be seen.

Here is my “sinking duling” opinion. Without disrespecting other BBEAL basketball’s good coaches like Navigators’ Raymund Austria, Admiral’s Kurt Panagan and Jaguars’ Albin Santos, Joel Flores of the Cardinals is in these highlands, a brilliant tactician and unmatched motivator.

Since taking over, the youthful coach (then) had successfully sustained the Cardinals’ championship tradition until the streak was punctuated by CCDC coaches’ Tony de la Cerna and Gerry Estranghero. Both bench strategists were seasoned and experienced players of the game and for two consecutive years, CCDC reigned supreme. Of course, Harold Sabado’s prolific scoring touch gave the Admirals wings to soar.

Coach Antonio for the BCT Atoms is not in any way a stroke inferior to anyone. The Atoms is blessed to have had holdovers from last season’s quest. This is a strong plus. With an intact core, coach Antonio enjoys the benefit team experience, cohesion and strength. In addition, as one who is an alumnus of UB and a former Cardinal himself, he is part of an elite championship tradition. Reeking in his veins, the genetic imprint of a basketball champion is fast becoming clear in the way the BCT character has been revealing itself. A BBEAL newbie has been rising since it has crossed from the CHESAA.

Onskiuss, do I have your attention? It pays to have good men steer the ship in competitive waters. Of course, you knew that but merely knowing is not enough. It also pays dividends to pay them well if in case you aren’t. For the love of life and moral excellence, please pay them also on time.

Still through many sunrises and sunsets, I harbor regrets when contemplating what BBEAL basketball had missed. This was a missed opportunity of a basketball game which could have been a duel of great strategists of the game. Unknown to most and unappreciated by many, at a time when coach Flores hibernated, John Carlo Domingo; an outstanding former UC varsity coached the Jaguars and gave his alma mater 1st basketball championship after years of having one in its belt as the former Baguio Colleges Foundation Shields. Domingo is now in Canada.

Too little of today’s administrations in Metro Cordillera’s jurisdiction give good coaches enough credit to lead young warriors to battle. Haven’t they watched Greg Popovich and the Spurs and how their execution won the championship?

That performance was classic! For all its worth, this was a lesson that truly underscored the importance of having a bright and innovative man at helm.

Years after fate flirted with this possibility of bringing two brilliant minds with remarkable college basketball careers, the engagement between them could not be. The Domingo-Flores coaching match-up would have been one of BBEAL’s best and unforgettable games. That is an opinion I still hold strongly.

What beacons?

Most are saying, UB vs BCT in the championship. I think so too unless the saints in SLU intercede and create an upset against either. As for which team brings home the bacon, I think I’ve said my piece months ago in a previous column. This October 8, over the earth, a second full eclipse will unfold the first one happening last April 15 and the sun will be darkened and the moon will again turn blood red. This Onskiuss is an irrevocable sign. The heavens are about to tell us His story. Extensively.
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