Dukes played against the odds
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THE REGION 1 basketball team represented by the province’s well-known college squad Lyceum Northwestern University Dukes of Atty. Gonzalo Duque finally achieved its highest victory so far in the history of PRISAA National Collegiate Games by winning the silver last Friday. The victory was their first since PRISAA’s birth six decades ago despite traveling a jungle of odds prior to the opening of the annual games and up to the finish.
I watched the elimination round held at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center in Lingayen where the boys of head coach Angel Gumarang hurdled their two dreaded foes: Region 3 by five points, 70-65, and Region 5 by seven points, 71-64, to enter the semis despite losing their third (no bearing) game to the Cebuanos by a mere point, 49-50. The Dukes carding a 2-1 win-loss mark ditto with their nemesis Region 3 acquired the semi-final slot through the win-over-the-other Olympic style rule and edged the fearless and perennial winner NCR, 77-74, in a hotly contested match. I saw how the intrepid and resolute Dukes, after trailing at the half by five points, 32-37, tied the match thrice, 51-51, 69-69, 71-71, and finishing the game with its defense in the dying seconds and forward-center JayR Andrade converting one of his two free throws to seal the victory.
Jubilation broke out after the match led by Gonz and Dukes assistant coaches Julius Puzon and Linnel Manalo with the team’s avid supporter Gilmark Meneses and well-known NCAA referee Jorge Ceralde joining the LNU students, I with my two sons Jazy and Moses. “The euphoria was due to our entry in the finals that was never done by any Region 1 school including the multi-titled UL Golden Tigers,” said the elated Gumarang. “Our detractors and loathed enemies ate their words by saying we can’t even enter the semis but they were badly mistaken,” added Gumarang without naming names. “Mahirap magsalita ng patapos ‘ika nga. These hypocrites never congratulated us even just by text and never even watched our games. Obviously they are envious because they belong to LNU’s rival school and we broke their record,” Gumarang explained.
Yes, in the end we lost the gold against the taller Calabarzon squad, 103-87, but the team did not lose the respect of the crowd. Who knows, we might win the gold the next time around. “Konti pang hasa and hire and train at least two tall pivot men to beef up the team and that will be the new story comes 2014 National PRISAA,” said the confident Ceralde.
I believe him, that’s my impression, too.
Mabuhay kayo mga ginoo and keep up the clean conquest.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II TIMOTHY 4: 7