Dukes deserve the silver medal victory
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
WHAT could have influenced my friend and media colleague Orly Navarro in spreading a false report contra Atty. Gonzalo Duque anent the Region 1 team semifinal victory over the dreaded NCR squad? Some say it could be because of politics. Others say it could be an act of vengeance. Many say both.
I was there at the LNU gym during that PRISAA basketball semifinal encounter to cover the event and also there because our region represented by Dagupan City-based Lyceum Northwestern University Dukes (LNU) was involved. And of course, I was there because basketball is my third favorite sport (next to cycling and boxing) and despite my depreciating fitness as an aging fellow, thanks to God I can still play this James Naismith invented sport.
I saw how the LNU Dukes of Duque escaped a pulsating victory over the highly favored Manilenos, 77-74, the first time it happened in their countless clashes since PRISAA was born 60 years ago. And it’s immply not true that Gonz coopted the referees to make our team win the game. Yes, he was there and came during the third quarter and sat not far from my bench, very quiet and made no disparaging remarks against any court official every time the whistle-blowers made bum calls. In fact, in my observation, our team was the aggrieved party due to bum calls particulalrty in the dying seconds of the game which the Dukes led by just a mere point, 75-74, that worried coaches Angel Gumarang, Julius Puzon and Linnel Manalo. Luckily, the Dukes’ two guards Jesse Estrada and JayR Andrade sank the important one each of their four free throws that sealed the victory. And if you’re wondering why the semifinal game was played at LNU’s homecourt, yes it was requested by Gonz through the recommendation of Gumarang and was approved by the honchos of PRISAA. There was nothing wrong at all with that because it has been a practice and a privilege given to the host team. That happened also in Cebu City last year with host Cebu winning the gold medal battle at their own turf against the visiting Calabarzon.
Yes, there was a fracas after the match and it happened outside the gymnasium about 25 minutes after the game and only few people were left at LNU’s compound. I and the LNU players did not see the melee because everybody was celebrating inside the gym. According to my investigation, the NCR team was walking on their way to board their vehicle when they were taunted by a certain spectator with surname Vinluan. I sense that the NCR boys, still feeling the heavy emotions brought about by their defeat, brought it out by punching the guy Vinluan who started the commotion. The two culprits immediately ran away after downing Vinluan with the two policemen chasing them but unable to catch the duo. Some spectators identified the two punchers with their jersey uniforms numbers 15 and 17. LNU’s director of student affairs Eugene Reyes came to the scene immediately and also investigated the incident. After that incident I was no longer aware of any incident related to that. But what I know based on what I saw and on my own familiarity with basketball ruyls, our local bets won the semifinal game fair and square contrary to what was reported by my friend Orly. The LNU Dukes, despite losing the gold medal match to the taller and more agile Calabarzon, 103-87, our contingent deserved the silver medal victory and applause. This was the first time that Region 1 won a silver medal in a national basketball event, shattering the bronze medal win by University of Luzon Golden Tigers many years ago. We have to be proud of them because they brought honor to our place in a clean and fair conquest despite travelling a jungle of odds. Their win is also our victory. Amen.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” MATTHEW 5: 38, 39, 43, 44.