For years, I have been a basketball fan but I rarely go to match venues to watch the games. I just usually watch in the NBA and PBA on TV. When I was living in Manila, I sometimes go to the Ateneo Gym to watch PBL or UAAP. When I moved to Cebu, I just keep track the going-ons of the local basketball scene via newspapers or websites.
Cebu has a very lively local basketball scene. Many players make their name here before moving to Manila to become full-fledged basketball stars. Greg Slaughter, Junmar Fajardo, Jerie Pingoy, Roger Pogoy, Eliud Poligrates, Kris Porter, and JR Quinahan are just few of the many Cebuanos who are making their mark in Manila.
A few weekends ago, I got to chance to see the championship match in the Passerelle division of the Cebu Milo Twin Tournament. Milo has been a big supporter of basketball in the younger division. Many of our local basketball stars played first in the Milo tournaments before becoming varsity players.
In Cebu, the powerhouse for these levels are USC, Sacred Heart, and UV. The Cebu champions will be the City's representative in the Visayas Regional Finals to be held in Roxas City in November and the regional winner will play in the National finals to be held in Cebu this December.
The championship match was between the University of the Visayas and the Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu. During the warm-ups, I noticed the disparity between the height of the teams. The height advantage were obviously in SHS-AdC's favor. If looks could score, Ateneo would hands down be the champion. Sacred heart School also had more fans.
UV's lack of height was well compensated with their heart, speed, skills, and long range shooting touch. The game started at frenetic pace as both teams were exchanging a lot of missed shots. UV drew first blood but Ateneo led the lanky Jed Colonia were able to get the upper hand after the end of the first with a score of 10-6. What is so nice about the Milo format is that all players are required to play. Each team will have different fives in each quarter while substitutions are only allowed in the final period.
The second period was even as AdC's Andre Chua and UV's Denzel Sabroso paced their respective teams. Halftime score was 22-18 in favor of Ateneo. The third period became a major turning point of the game as UV overhauled the deficit via the hot hand of John Clint Paquibut. The thin and not so tall teenager hit 3 three point shots and added three more field goals to score 15 points in the quarter. UV led 40-31 entering the pay off period.
Ateneo showed that the game is not over yet as they used a vicious full court press to take the lead via a 10-0 blast. Andrew Velasco was the main man during the blistering run. Eventaully, the UV players were able figure out how to break the press and they were able to knot the game at 47-all.
With few minutes left and the score was tied, the fans at the Capitol Parish gym were in for a treat as a classic ending is about to happen. The possession was with Ateneo. Andrew Velasco attempted a long jumper but he missed the shot. The active Jed Colonia was there to get the rebound and hit the follow-up to give Ateneo the lead at 49-47. UV answered with a booming triple from Denzel Sabroso to grab the lead at 50-49. Andrei Chua was called for travelling in the next possession giving UV the ball. Ateneo were forced to foul but the UV players were clutch at the free throw line.
With 12 seconds left with the score of 56-51, Ateneo had the ball. Andre Chua atoned for his earlier miscue with a quick 2 to make it a one possession ballgame at 56-53. The inbound play tense and the active hands of Andrew Velasco resulted to a steal and ball ending up at Chen's hands. Chen took a hurried 3-point attempt hoping to tie the game but his shot was off the mark. UV got the rebound as the buzzer sounded and UV is the 2014 Cebu Milo Passerelle Champion.
I never knew that watching high school basketball could be this fun. The competition was intense and I can feel the passion of the Cebuano fans. I will surely watch the players of this level because I know many of the name will be household names in the future.
posted from Bloggeroid