Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The second quarter was another see-saw affair after the Olympians got back from a 19 - 29 deficit. Since both teams wanted to play most of their players since the Nationals have 24 and the Olympians have 18 players, the game was played for 12 minute quarters. Maclean Sabellina was firing on all cylinders for the Olympians as he teamed up with another veteran Norman Ihalas to give the Olympians a chance to stay close as the quarter ended with the National still on top 44 - 40.
The Olympians started the third quarter with superb defense as Henry, Sabellina and former SSC Staglet RK Morales leading the pack. The Nationals turned the ball over as the Olympians blocked shots and stole the ball that they translated to fastbreak points to take the lead 52-49 with five minutes left in the game. Russel Escoto and Kevin Ferrer battled back as the Nationals showed their take on defense as the quarter ended with the Nationals still on top.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Jonjie Deomano, Bong Berbano & yours truly is very proud of this one
Hope springs eternal. Team Panlilio opened the 2010 ABL season last January staring at a 22 – 37 deficit after the first half in a game against Team Cheekee. It was unusual that the season started with only seven players present while the rest of the team members arriving late for the game. It was beginning to look like another long frustrating season for Team Panlilio. It looks like another season where friendships would be strengthened but no basketball wins would take place. Images of last year’s opening game came to view as it was the same scenario last year when Team Panlilio had more than 12 players on opening day but unfortunately got clobbered by its opponents not only from opening day but until the end of the season. Fortunately this year proved to be something different.
There is a saying that goes like this “Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records!” After racking out three consecutive wins Team Panlilio suffered a big blow as the team’s leading scorer Peter Gonzalez suffered an ACL injury. Peter is a Triathlon champion and is the Team’s go to guy whenever points are needed. He runs the floor like a gazelle to score off fastbreaks, has a decent shooting touch and a knack to score the difficult undergoal reverse lay in when inside the paint. We lost him for the rest of the season. But instead of sulking or letting the season go down to the drains Team Panlilio took it as a challenge, talked about what to do and let fate decide our season. The result was a humbling loss to Team Adolfo – it was the first time the team felt down.
After that loss, Team Panlilio realized that the most important aspect of the team is to trust one another and sacrifice one’s personal interest in order for the team game to come in. We realized that by putting in together our strengths and helping each other overcome each one’s weakness, then what we have is a team that will never give up and a team that is focused on something bigger than just a decent finish this season. After that humbling defeat to Team Adolfo, Team Panlilio regrouped and this time had a better grasp of how the team can win. Dato Arroyo and Jerome Buhay took the lead during fastbreaks as Dino Ponce – Enrile would man the point, run the ball and hit the two finishers. ON the other hand Jun Castro and Buboy Go pounded the ball inside and was very effective in getting three point plays. When the big guys were doubled, Bong Berbano would shoot the lights out from three point land while Dennis Manalo would provide the points, the spunk and the motivation when needed. The other role players included Jonjie Deomano, Marvin Tiburcio, Tabs Tabora, Bong Marquez, and Johan Ramos whose defensive presence was the edge of the team during the championship game.
Just like reading the script of a movie that featured Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, redemption was in the eyes of Team Panlilio in the final four as it faced the only team that has beaten them – Team Adolfo. Faced with a defensive game, the dull low scoring affair went to the vengeance seeking Team Panlilio to the tune of a 43 – 39 victory. By this time the Team felt that it had its left feet inside the door as it waited for its finals opponent which happened to be the Mark Molina led Team Jalandoni. The championship as they say was just formality as the journey towards the finals was harder since the adversities faced by Team Panlilio helped them strengthen their character and helped them believe in themselves one final time. Down 30 -36 in the third quarter, Team Panlilio uncorked a paralying 15 – 2 run to take the third quarter and eventually the game as they shut down Mythical 5 member Mark Molina and the rest of Team Jalandoni to finally get their first ABL Title in ten years. The journey of then Team Sevilla which is now Team Panlilio is complete and as we hoisted our championship trophy in the air and raised our glasses during our own version of our championship bonfire we felt like we were Enrico Villanueva and Wesley Gonzalez who broke the 14 year title drought of the Blue Eagles in the UAAP 2002 season.
Team Panlilio with Tito Panlilio
Being a part of a champion team is nothing new to Cristino “Tito” Panlilio since he was a member of the 1969 Ateneo Blue Eagles that won for the blue and white its 12th NCAA title. And as if lady luck has a way to put things into order, the ABL team named after Ateneo Hall of Fame awardee Tito Panlilio has 9 out of 14 players born in 1969. Giving inspiration to Team Panlilio in the finals of the Andres Francisco Division in the Ateneo Basketball League, Tito was not disappointed as Team Panlilio translated its excellent defense into precious points to carve out a masterful 62-47 win against Team Jalandoni to win its first ever ABL Title. And just like in storybook fashion, this championship was not without the drama that goes with every win that comes from shattered dreams that is translated to fulfilled goals.
Dato Arroyo started the game with eight consecutive points for Team Panlilio as he sank two three pointers and a field goal to give the favored team the early 8-6 lead. The plan was for Dato to score the first 62 points, unfortunately he got tired. Team Jalandoni, bannered by three former Ateneo Junior standouts namely Brando Cristi who manned the paint, Prim Nolido who directed the offense and Mark Molina who scored the points. The three were instrumental in giving Team Jalandoni a finals berth as they matched every offensive outburst of Team Panlilio as the quarter ended with Team Panlilio on top 14-12.
The second quarter was a test of character and defense as both teams engaged each other in boxing match that saw the rest of their bench pour everything out to limit each team’s scorer. Both teams ran for fastbreaks but had a hard time converting. At the same time, turnovers and botched plays were more common than conversions. By the end of the quarter Team Panlilio was now on top by just a solitary basket 26-25.
By the third quarter, the entire complexion of the game would change hands and just like a pendulum each shift made the team with the momentum try to break the game open. Team Jalandoni drew first blood as Mark Molina continued his impeccable shooting as he socred from everywhere in the court. Molina scored 12 of the 14 3rd quarter points of Team Jalandoni as they threatened to pull away on the account of their 36-30 lead. That was enough to wake up Team Panlilio as the secret weapon was about to unleash hell. After a few years in hiatus, defense specialist Johan Ramos came in just the nick of time to swat the ball away from anyone who dared to enter the shaded lane. The intimidating presence of Ramos gave point guard Dino Ponce Enrile the go signal to run the ball and find the open man. At the same time, Ponce Enrile also nailed down three triples to offset the off night by resident three point specialist Bong Berbano. The result of that momentum shift was a 13- 2 run that broke the hearts of Team Jalandoni as Tito Panlilio’s boys took the third quarter 45 – 38.
After scoring 12 first half points and 13 third quarter points, Team Jalandoni’s scoring machine was shut down in the fourth quarter as bull strong power forward Jun Castro put the cuffs on Mark Molina as he went scoreless the rest of the way. On the other hand, Jun Castro provided the fourth quarter spark that Team Panlilio needed as the team that was always proud individually, finally played as a team and the result was a rout on the championship game. Not to be forgotten are the contributions done by the rest of the team namely Dennis Manalo, Jerome Buhay, Buboy Go, Deo Deomano, Tabs Tabora and Tibs Tiburcio. Their all out hustle, sacrifices and determination helped each other play with a lot of heart.
Yo Ramos ready to turn around and shoot
As pioneers of the Ateneo Basketball League, it took us ten years to realize our dream of winning an ABL division title. There was no doubt from the start that this season was ours and even though we were sidetracked since our best player Peter Gonzalez got injured, that did not deter us to reach our goal but more importantly it inspired us to go the extra mile since we all know that we can do anything as long as we put our minds together. We hope that the success that we gained this year will continue and we pray that as proud as we use the name Team Panlilio, we can emulate the success of Tito and carry it on to greater battles ahead of us.
Castro 18, Arroyo 16, Ponce-Enrile 9, Manalo 6, Berbano 5, Buhay 4, Go 2, Ramos 2, Tabora 0, Tiburcio 0,
Molina 25, Quimson 6, Nolido 5, Cristi 4,
Quarter scores: 14 – 12, 26 - 25, 45 – 38, 62 - 47