Photo Caption: TOP GUARD – Former University of Cordilleras guard June Ric Buenavetura, now suiting up for his hometown Bokod scores past Jake Alvin Rojas of Kibungan in the ongoing Cong. Eric Go Yap Congressional Cup.
Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet
The early favorites showed they are forces to reckon with as they opened their bids with wins in the Cong. Eric Go Yap Congressional Cup at the Benguet State University gym here, Saturday. In a show of force, the three biggies – Bokod, Itogon and La Trinidad 1 – made short works of their rivals during the opening of the three-month tournament. Bokod literally lit the rafters of the gym early
afternoon as it methodically decimated Kibungan for a 99- 44 rout or a 55 point victory, the biggest yet in the league.
Former University of the Cordilleras playmaker June Ric Buenaventura registered the first double – double as he scored 20 points and 10 assists to lead the team from around Ambuklao Dam. Big man Kendrick Joseph also put up a good performance with his double-double of 12 rebounds and assists, each on top of two blocks despite a measly two points. “It’s our first time together,” he said.
Itogon also started hot and allowed only two points for Bakun in the first quarter as the team from the town that hosts the Binga Dam and San Roque Dam, partly, cruised to a 104 – 60 demolition.
Omer Baluch came out roaring as he scored the Yap Cup’s first triple double – 31 big points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists with youthful Jude Quitalbo chipping in 16-10-10 on top of a single steal and block, while Alejandro came short of the same with an 11-10- 8 performance. Virgilio Evangelista, Jr. top scored for Bakun with 14 markers, seven rebounds and four assists. La Trinidad 1 had a jittery start, even gave up the lead 20- 22 with less than a minute left in the first period, but rallied to score five straight points to take a 25-22 lead before cruising to a 96-80 win in the last game during the opening day.
Armando Pollante rallied the Valley’s first team as he scored 22 points on top of 12 rebounds and 11 assists and the third triple double in the tournament backed by Benguet Rep. Eric Yap. Will Kean Lee and Kean Zackery Diaz backstopped the league’s tallest player with 17 and 16 markers, aside from posting 6-5 and 5-5 rebounds assists, respectively. Kyle Aldich Naisod waxed hot from downtown and connected 10 of his attempts to finish with a game and tournament high 32 points for the losing Kabayan squad. Yap was joined by Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas during the opening rites where they watched the parade of teams with their mayor, who act as manager, or their representative and their respective muses.
The mayors then joined the two top Benguet officials. Yap urged the players to give their best as he plans to put up a Benguet team, whose members will be composed of the best after the tournament.
The champion will receive P250,000 and the same amount will be given as assistance to a cooperative within the winning municipality. The first runner – up, up to the third will also bring home cash prizes including a counterpart for their chosen cooperative in their municipality. Yap also gave certificates and cash to six Palarong Pambansa medal winners.
The league’s youngest team, Tuba opened its bid with a 64-41 win over Buguias on Sunday.
Cyril de Vera and Amiel Gacula scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Tuba’s team whose members are mostly high school students. The two posted double-double performances with de Vera adding 10 assists, while Gacula made a team high 12. Jumar Pulido paced the losing side with 12 markers, nine rebounds beside a team high seven assists and single block and steal. Atok joined the win column with a 56-38 rout of the mayor Armando Lauro-led Tublay team.
La Trinidad’s team B, meanwhile, proved to be as deadly as it steamrolled past Kapangan, 97-62.
Aaron Nang-as and two other players made sure La Trinidad ahead from the get posting a 21-14 lead at the first quarter, which was a 47-30 advantage at halftime and a 74- 51 affair after the third period. Nang-is topscored with 17 points, beside eight rebounds and seven assists, while proving to be a pesky guard as he successfully stole the ball six times from an opponent. Big man Bryan Estepa
made 13 points, team best 11 rebounds and seven assists, while point guard Ethan Tan added 11.
Former Cordillera Career Development College big man and coach Fenrie Atinyao had a triple double with 20-10-10, points-rebounds-assists, to lead Kapangan. John Russel Tuazon and Pollante scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, for La Trinidad’s first team to and power the squad to its second straight win. It was Sablan’s second loss in the two day league. Lee chipped in 14 markers on top of four rebounds, four assists and a steal. Jeremiah Buslay finished with 16 points, including four from rainbow country to lead the losing Sablan squad. Five players scored in double figure as Itogon blasted Kibungan 98-61.
Arven Carantes made 13 markers, playing coach Ferdinand Sapalong, Baluch and Aljay Cuyahon added 11 points each, while Quitalbo chipped in10 as Itogon won and join La Trinidad 1 at the top of the leaderboard with two wins against no loss. After missing the first game, Jeffrey Abansi joined his team finally and top scored with 18 markers. It will be a double header on Thursday, September 21, at the La Trinidad municipal gym with the two home squads facing each other, while Bokod hopes to give the young Tuba squad a lesson. The second La Trinidad team, Bokod and Tuba are all seeking their second wins.
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