The Gov Cup returns

I missed last year’s opening but I sure did try to catch the opening of the second season of the Governor Davide Basketball Cup yesterday in the Cebu Coliseum. The basketball tournament started by the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission now has 45 entries from the LGUs, quite a feat considering there are 51 LGUs under Cebu Province.

Last year, the GOV Cup final between Minglanilla and Consolacion was the most-watched local tournament, playing to packed venues in the first two games and in the deciding Game 3, which was played in the University of San Carlos, a neutral venue. Before Game 2 of last year’s final, Gov. Hilario Davide III promised to make this year’s prizes bigger and he has delivered, setting aside P1.1 million just for the prizes, with P500,000 going to the champion.

I can’t recall a tournament--commercial or LGU-based--offering a bigger prize.

This year’s opening was fun, with an exhibition game featuring the mayors and the board members. Now, I’ve seen a game involving a mayor, and usually he’ll be defended by a guy who’s more than eager to let him score, hence the healthy box scores of mayors in exhibition matches. But this wasn’t a game involving a mayor’s team, this was a game involving a team of mayors.

Out-of-shape, out-of-practice and sometimes out-of-breath, the mayors did their best and were given honest-to-goodness defense by their counterparts from the Provincial Board who were also out of it. Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama showed up with his shooting touch and wowed the crowd. However, it was not a mayor, but a congressman--Samsam Gullas--who really looked and played the part.

Heck he elicited a loud “wooo” from the crowd when during a drive, he brought the ball to the right to fake his defender before laying it with his left. The smile that followed was pro-caliber too.

It wasn’t just the officials who had fun as the players—or anyone in the crowd—had a chance to win P5,000 if they’d sink a shot from half-court. The first shooting gimmick had the ladies trying from just two feet from the rim and when the crowd saw how eager organizers were to give out cash, the court was quickly filled when the half-time contest was announced.

If the local hosts of the different Gov Cup cluster games will adopt such practice, the hometown fans will have more reasons to look forward to the next Gov Cup.


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