PH wins 2018 Pa­cific Rim NCAA cage cham­pi­onship

Sun.Star Baguio - - PRIME SPORTS -

PHILIP­PINE team-San Beda Red Cub's re­mark­able win at the 2018 Pa­cific Rim NCAA Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onship against Thai­land is in­deed a mod­ern David ver­sus Go­liath fight, mem­bers of the team said Mon­day.

The Philip­pines reigned supreme af­ter de­feat­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion Thai­land Chu­la­longkorn, 50-40 at the one-game fi­nal of the Pa­cific Rim NCAA Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onship 14-un­der di­vi­sion at Chu­la­longkorn Uni­ver­sity Coli­seum in Bangkok, Thai­land on April 29.

San Beda-Tay­tay’s front-liner Prince Ray Alao, the game's Most Valu­able Player, said all ex­haus­tion and the strug­gles they went through dis­si­pated the mo­ment the win­ner was an­nounced.

"So­brang saya po na ma-rep­re­sent yung sar­il­ing coun­try natin, at so­brang natu­tuwa kami na naiuwi namin yung tro­phy (We're over­joyed to rep­re­sent our own coun­try and we are glad that we brought home the tro­phy)," he added. "Min­san medyo natatakot ka­pag so­brang laki nila, pero puso lang (Some­times we're a lit­tle in­tim­i­dated be­cause they're big­ger than us but we have the heart to win)."

Alao said the team was close to los­ing faith af­ter two of their key play­ers were deemed un­fit to play be­fore de­par­ture.

"When we got to Thai­land, every­body stepped up to achieve the tro­phy," he said.

Rey ad­mit­ted the Philip­pine team was

"ac­tu­ally an un­der­dog" at the game since the Thais "looked stronger."

Coach Inigo said the team's de­ter­mi­na­tion to win the game against these taller and big­ger op­po­nents came to fruition.

"Yung de­sire ta­laga ng mga bata iba, pati yung puso nila, ayaw ni­lang mag­pat­alo kahit mas malalaki yung kal­a­ban, mas mabibi­gat, mas mabibilis, ta­la­gang ayaw ni­lang mag­pat­alo sa game kaya nanalo tayo (The de­sire of the play­ers, who played with their heart, to win and not to be beaten even if their op­po­nents are big­ger, faster. They re­ally wanted it more, that's why we won)," he told PNA.

“Medyo sin­uw­erte rin tayo sa three points natin, tuwing du­midikit yung kal­a­ban nakaka-three points tayo kaya nahi­ra­pan si­lang bu­ma­lik sa game (We have also have luck on our side with the three points ev­ery time the op­po­nents came close, we sank our three point shots. That made dif­fi­cult for them to come back),” Inigo added.

The team, to­gether with their par­ents and coach Manu Inigo met Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte on Mon­day at the Mala­cañan Palace, to present their hard­won ac­com­plish­ment.

They also had a photo op­por­tu­nity with Sec­re­tary Bong Go, Spe­cial As­sis­tant of the Pres­i­dent, who ini­tially re­ceived them at the Pre­mier Guest House. Sec. Bong Go, him­self a Bas­ket­ball en­thu­si­ast, sent off the team be­fore leav­ing for Thai­land and as­sured them of his and the Pres­i­dent’s sup­port.

"We were elated to meet him, na-starstruck kami (we were starstrucked)," said Rey Alao, Prince's fa­ther.

Equally proud Go ear­lier sent off the team dur­ing a half-time break of a Philip­pine Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion fi­nals game on March 25 be­fore the young cagers left for the Bangkok tour­na­ment.

The in­vi­ta­tion to join the cham­pi­onship was sent to Inigo's desk two months be­fore the ac­tual game. To make up with the short train­ing pe­riod, Inigo said the team joined sev­eral league games to has­ten the play­ers' readi­ness.

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