Saturday, March 28, 2009

Amazing Ran by the Golden Arrows

by Leo C. Diarios (official PBL Sports Writer)

This early of the season, the CLSF team has been very serious in its attempt to go beyond the quarterfinal round in the PBL. They sent only one team in this tournament compared to 3 teams last season. This present selection looks formidable as a team with their twin towers in the persons of Edwin Santos and Ferdie Bautista manning the middle. They may not be as young as the other players of the opposing teams but their good basketball skills and knowledge earned in their early years somehow could not be taken lightly.

In Friday night’s main event, the CLSF Goldies was fitted against the former Champions (2007) UR2 Reds. The tap was won by UR2 but there was no conversion made to their basket. The CLSF was all business that night and they zoomed right away from the start of the 1st half, leading by 12 at the score of 22 - 10 with 3:22 left. Their point guard did well in protecting their ball and conducting their set plays. Seven of their players fielded in already scored for the team in the first 12 minutes and a half. Santos and Bautista were a good combination to watch playing alongside each other. Coach Leo Bungay was all-smile because his players responded well when called in to play. It was Cuesta who did the most damage on the side of the UR2, mostly breaking the plays of the Reds. Celiz and Barrientos were awesome from the side of UR2, converting 8 points among themselves of the total 13 points production in the 1st half of play. The Reds never tired in playing defense all night with Respicio displaying a rare block shot on the driving Molina. That one was the Best Play of the game. Time down to 6:17 and the Reds failed to convert a basket. Articona collared the rebound and threw a baseball pass to the streaking Cuesta on the other court. There were three Goldies running down the lane and the passes were quick and precise. Molina was driving at the basket and looked for a second from behind. Respicio was there, about 5 to 6 feet away, so Molina decided to lay in the ball. From out of nowhere, the ball was swatted away by the high-flying Respicio and the opportunity to score on a fastbreak was broken. Thus, how intense and exciting were the actions between the CLSF and UR2 that night. The 1st half ended with the Goldies still ahead by 12 points, 25 – 13.

At the start of the 2nd half, the actions never failed to thrill the crowds. Both sides were running and both were so hungry going after the ball. It was only the big men of CLSF that kept the Reds at bay. Bautista was always a recipient of beautiful passes from the perimeter and inside the basket. His points were mostly produced beneath the goal. Celiz, on the other hand, was a tiresome machine of UR2. He bravely challenged the defense of the Goldies and made his conversions from short stabs inside but converted only 1 point from the free throw line. Missing on the part of the Reds were their other two big men who used to play strong both inside and outside. Would they be playing in the coming games of UR2? While that matter remains to be seen, the other Reds players were not patsy. They were young, quick and athletic. They could even make life difficult for the former GMC team of last year had all their players play in this tournament. Only, the CLSF showed them a big splash in the 1st half and the Reds could not recover from there. Celiz, Jose and Amora continued to excite the crowd with their splendid shots as they tried to match point by point with the Golden Arrows. The coaches from both sides exhibited not only their wide knowledge of the game but also their marvelous attitude towards it. Larry Vargas was an able assistant to Coach Leo with Ronnie Lazares and Ed Salvador as Team managers. The two coaches were the heroes of the game, worthy of emulating, so humble in victory and gracious in defeat.

The score ended at 53 – 36 but the warm attitudes of the competing players among themselves after the ballgame made the night even more meaningful to everyone. Iba nga naman talaga kung napapangalagaan ng butihing ama ang mga tupa. Only in Pag-asa Baskeball League (PBL) can we see this beautiful scene so far.

The score:
CLSF (53) – Bautista (17), Balucan (9), Cuesta (6), Reyes (6), Peralta (4), Factura (4), Santos (4), Articona (2), Tibay (1)
UR2 (36) – Celiz (8), Amora (8), Barrientos (5), Jose (4), Blangket (4), Ballesteros (3), Ducay (2), Santuelle (2)

Best Player: Bautista (CLSF)
Best Crowd Support / Morale booster: UR2 crowd
Heroes of the Game: Coach Leo & Coach Jun

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