It was Friday, the 13th, and the sun was up at its best but the GOOD LORD sent forth fresh cool air to the vicinity of Al Gosaibi Sports Club for protection as HIS people were all busy preparing to dedicate an important collective activity to our GOD. Yes, the PAG-ASA BASKETBALL LEAGUE (PBL) opened its 4th Season with a heavenly assurance that all will be well for the twelve (12) basketball teams competing from Day 1 up to the last playing date of this PBL season.
The ceremony was attended by more than 300 brethren from different cells headed by the mighty duo-some of the PBL Commissioner Max Bringula and the Head of PBL Sports Committee for this year, the amiable Kuya Lito Manuyag.
Each participating team displayed their official banner, uniforms, players, officials and muses with much gusto. There were smiling faces all over the place, each one showing the excitement the event was bringing. The program began at 4pm with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem led by Kuya Tim (JCILSA & Pag-asa/Sumphonia). The Invocation was done by Kuya Tony Gloria and followed by the Welcome Remarks of Kuya Max. Kuya Marlon Kahler of GMC led the Sportsmanship Oath. Kuya Nick Plando, head of CWWA & UR, delivered the Inspiration Remarks. Kuya Chito of Symphonia and DBD center did the emceeing during the Program.
Three awards were distributed before the tip-off with the beautiful and petite Ate Janice Magsino of CLSF copping the Best Muse. The Most Organized Team went to UR-Divine Desert University and the DBD Basketball Team garnered the Best in Uniform, all hands-down. After which, the food was served on the side of the basketball court while teams were taking pictures one after another at the center-court for their souvenirs. Kuya Jumel Chua, the youthful and handsome official Photographer of the PBL, was all around the court taking beautiful acrobatic shots on any thing his eyes would catch interesting, careful of not missing a single moment that would provide lasting memory to the beholder.
After the warm ceremony, the 1st game of the season was contested by GMC, the depending champion, and the rookie team of JCPP. From the start of the tip-off, it was all GMC show. The dribblers of JCPP could not find their range after so many tries at the basket while the Thunders were zooming from both ends of the court fighting for every ball possession and easy conversion. The score was 12 – 0 in favor of GMC after only 2 minutes of play. The 1st basket of JCPP came after 2 and ½ minutes courtesy of their big man, Rico Ambuyao. But their 2nd basket came only with 4 minutes remaining in the first half where the score was 26 – 4. The defense of GMC was evident at the game where they committed 4 quick team-fouls. GMC center Coro was feasting on swatting every attempt from the JCPP shooters. However, the 1st 3-point conversion of the game was produced by JCPP courtesy of Jersey No. 5, Roque, in the last 2 minutes. Another basket by Alejandre of JCPP after the short stab of Rotugal of GMC ended the first half of play with GMC leading the score at 31 – 9.
The start of the 2nd half gave the JCPP the chance to narrow down the lead to 18 at the score of 33 – 15. The committee called for a timeout to give way for the official referees to call the game after arriving late. The resumption of play gave back the momentum to GMC where they scored consecutive baskets resulting from numerous interceptions. Oreta scored an unmolested twinner under the basket from a beautiful assist of Byron Kahler, GMC leading at 45 – 19, with 7 minutes remaining. Marlon Kahler converted the only 3-point shot of GMC with 3 minutes and 24 seconds remaining in the ballgame. It is worthy to note the flashy moves of Biazon in the waning seconds of the game. He was not part of the 1st five of GMC but he sure is a force to reckon with in the coming games of the Thunders.
The 1st game of the season ended with GMC stamping their class over the JCPP with a whooping 39-point difference, the score at 64 – 25. It was an awesome display of balanced-attack of GMC where ten of the players they fielded in scored a basket or more.
The 1st Best Player of the game went to Biazon of GMC but Bacani of JCPP almost stole the limelight from him for playing courageously despite of a bloodied nose. He is my choice of 1st Hero of the Game for this season while I handover the 1st Morale Boosters Squad to the GMC bleachers.
GMC (64) – Biazon (11), Ybarle (10), Oreta (10), B. Kahler (8), M. Kahler (7), Rotugal (6), Coro (4), Dimaculangan (4), Duenas (2), Taiza (2)
JCPP (25) – Alejandre (8), Roque (7), Ambuyao (4), Valdez (2), Cunano (2), Payot (2)
Schedule of Games (March 20/Friday):
Morning: 7:00–8:30 (JTLG vs. JUSL) / 8:30–10:00 (OCF vs. DBD)
Afternoon: 4:30–6:00 (JCLORIM vs. S & L) / 6:00–7:30 (UR1 vs. CCWIM) / 7:30–9:30 (CLSF vs. UR2)
Group A - OCF / DBD / UR 1 / CCWIM
Group B - JTLG / UR 2 / JUSL / CLSF
Group C - GMC / JCLORIM / S&L / JCPP