BARANGAY Binloc took the first game in the best-of-three championship series of the Dagupan SK Inter-Barangay Basketball Championship in a hard-earned and heart-breaking 94-93 victory over archenemy Barangay Pantal last Sunday at Dagupan People’s Astrodome.
Pushed to the limit by the inspired Pantal that beat defending champion Bonuan Gueset in the semis to enter the finals, Binloc proved equal to the challenge up to the dying seconds that produced 18 deadlocks, the last of which was at 92-92 with 11 seconds remaining.
Standing tense at the free-throw line as the jam-packed crown cheered and jeered, Pantal’s guard Jasper John Clores sank one of his two free shots, giving his team a point lead at 93-92.
Binloc, given the cushion they needed notwithstanding the tight defense applied by the leading Pantal, Binloc off-guard Arnold Malanum luckily converted a perimeter shot from the left side of the court, 4.6 tics left, which created a deafening cheer from the team’s supporters.
Bryan Casaclang countered from the three-point area in the last second but was unable to seal the victory for the three-time champion Pantal.
“We want to sweep the finals and our momentum is already there,” said the confident head coach Joseph Yu.
“We were beaten by just a hairline because we bungled in some angles. But my boys’ morale is still high and we are confident that we could extend the series to three,” said Pantal chief coach Adolf Sta. Maria.
Hostilities resume on Saturday at the Dagupan People’s Astrodome with dethroned champion Barangay Bonuan Gueset to face Barangay Calmay in a knockout game for third place, 1:00 p.m. and the second game of the finals starts at 3:00 p.m.
The third game, if necessary, will be held on Sunday, also at 3:00 p.m. at the same venue.–JAG, Jr.