Sin­u­log Cup Bas­ket­ball

The Freeman - - SPORTS -

By the time you read this, you might have missed the ac­tion at the Cebu City Sin­u­log Cup 2018–Bas­ket­ball In­vi­ta­tional, a six-day tour­na­ment that brought to­gether a team from the PBA D-League in Marinerong Pilipino and four lo­cal teams. If you fol­lowed the ac­tion at the venue, through the pa­pers or through so­cial me­dia, I think you’ll agree that it was a com­plete pack­age of a tour­na­ment that fea­tured just about ev­ery­thing needed relaunch com­mer­cial league bas­ket­ball. It wasn’t per­fect, but af­ter go­ing on a “leave of ab­sence” for four­teen years, it wasn’t so bad at all, was it?

At ran­dom, here are a few things that made it suc­cess­ful. Note that I write this piece be­fore the cham­pi­onship game is to be played be­tween Marinerong Pilipino and Cebu Land­mas­ters/Bogo City. I must also de­clare that I served as the tour­na­ment’s com­mis­sioner/tour­na­ment di­rec­tor. At this point, who­ever wins the cham­pi­onship is in a way im­ma­te­rial to us (with all due re­spect to the Land­mas­ters and Skip­pers). The real win­ners are Cebu Bas­ket­ball and its fans. It’s back and we hope it’s back for good.

Pre­dictabil­ity? While peo­ple more or less had an idea of who were strong and weak, no­body ex­pected Univer­sity of San Jose-Reco­le­tos/May Abo­han to stun Marinerong Pilipino 84-83, with the game-win­ning al­ley-oop by Miguel Gas­ta­dor from Mark Aba­dia hands-down the play of the tour­na­ment. Marinerong Pilipino also had dif­fi­culty against Univer­sity of Cebu/M. Lhuil­lier, a team that fielded a solid col­lege team with­out big-time re­in­force­ments from ex­var­sity/com­mer­cial league play­ers or ex-pros. Back-to-back CESAFI cham­pion Univer­sity of the Visayas/SG-ARQ was win­less in the tour­na­ment, a first for the Lancers in a long time. We didn’t know who would make it to the fi­nals un­til the last day of the elim­i­na­tion round. When the dust cleared, only the Land­mas­ters stood clear above all others with a record of 4-0, and three teams were tied for sec­ond place at 2-2: Marinerong Pilipino, UC/M. Lhuil­lier and USJR/May Abo­han. The Skip­pers won the tiebreaker over UC/ M.Lhuil­lier by a soli­tary point, +7 against +6.

Level­ing up. Ac­tion lev­eled up when teams de­cided to use the core of their col­lege teams, but added re­in­force­ments to pro­vide lead­er­ship and experience. Ex­pros Roger Yap of USJR/May Abo­han and Jojo Tangkay of Cebu Land­mas­ters/Bogo (both now 40 years old) were the se­nior cit­i­zens of the tour­na­ment. Tangkay showed that he could still keep up with the young­sters, crack­ing the top ten rank­ings in sta­tis­ti­cal points. En­rico “Bogs” Llanto (USJR/May Abo­han) also turned back the clock with an ex­cel­lent game against the bigs of Marinero, re­mind­ing us of how he once played against the likes of Greg Slaugh­ter, and how he was named CESAFI MVP twice. Fer­di­nand Lus­doc, a hard­court hero in “panalay leagues,” got to show off why he’s pop­u­lar in tour­na­ments held in lo­cal towns and cities of the VISMIN through his dar­ing drives and pull-up jumpers. In the im­ports depart­ment, Fred­er­ick Elombi (UC/M.Lhuil­lier) wel­comed the ar­rival of Prince Orizu (Cebu Land­mas­ters/Bogo), and has churned out im­pres­sive num­bers av­er­ag­ing a dou­ble-dou­ble.

The ar­rival of Marinerong Pilipino was a most wel­come de­vel­op­ment. They came on their own, shoul­der­ing their ex­penses with the Cebu City’s bus as the only thing the or­ga­niz­ers needed to pro­vide. The Skip­pers, who are pre­par­ing for the PBA D-League which starts on the 18th of the month, bring in the Manila brand of bas­ket­ball. They’re big­ger, taller, are more ex­posed and are very well­sup­ported. Play­ing against them is al­ways ex­cel­lent ex­po­sure for the Cebu teams. And the same is true for the wards of Ba­nal broth­ers Koy and Joel. Thanks to Marinerong Pilipino for mak­ing the trip to Cebu. We’re now work­ing on a work­shop for coaches to be con­ducted by the Ba­nal broth­ers next month.

Crowd. The av­er­age at­ten­dance was at be­tween 1,200 to 1,400 ev­ery night. If this were held in a smaller venue, it would’ve been packed al­ready. This wasn’t bad at all, con­sid­er­ing that games were held on week­days, and traf­fic was heavy with all the Sin­u­log-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties tak­ing place. Their cheer­ing, jeer­ing, laugh­ing and shout­ing proved that they, too, missed bas­ket­ball at the high­est level for Cebu.

Of­fi­ci­at­ing. The tour­na­ment adopted an open ap­proach to of­fi­ci­at­ing, bring­ing in ref­er­ees from the PBA D-League to com­ple­ment the lo­cal SBP crew. We also brought in a ref­eree from Ba­colod and a Manila ref­eree who vol­un­teered his ser­vices. Statis­tics was also a stan­dard part of the tour­na­ment where we gath­ered, then is­sued stats to teams and the me­dia at half­time and af­ter the game. All these were posted on­line and you can see these in stats.ph/league/sin­u­logcup18, thanks to SIA Cebu–Sports in Ac­tion (or HAT: Hughie, Arvin and Tiny).

Scout­ing. What is Cebu Bas­ket­ball with­out scout­ing? Franz Pu­maren, Tonichi Yturri and Awoo Lac­son of Adam­son. Fankie Lim ac­com­pa­nied by PBA leg­end Boy Cabahug. Gi­las Pilip­inas/FEU as­sis­tant coach Ryan Be­tia, a proud prod­uct of Cebu Bas­ket­ball. Enough said.

Me­dia. A big thanks to friends in the me­dia. The lo­cal print me­dia was sup­port­ive, prob­a­bly miss­ing all the ac­tion as well. We had next day sto­ries com­ing out all week with pho­tos too. Sports web­sites sportx­en­tral.com and spin.ph also fea­tured the games. And so­cial me­dia was there through Face­book. The games were also dis­cussed on AM ra­dio through June Perez of DYAB, this cor­ner’s “alarm clock.” It would’ve been great if we could’ve done livestream­ing or FB live, but there’s al­ways a next time. Did you see Rocky Al­coseba’s FB video of the al­ley-oop play? Check it out and you’ll thank God for Face­book.

Spon­sor. Thanks to the Cebu City Sports Com­mis­sion and Coun­cilor Jerry Guardo for stag­ing the tour­na­ment. I must ad­mit that the first time this was brought up with us was in late 2016. When the tour­na­ment didn’t push through, I doubted if it would be staged at all. Bet­ter late than never and to go on for­ever.

Tara na mag Sin­u­log! Lest we for­get, the Sin­u­log is all about Sr. Sto Niño, The spon­sor of all spon­sors of the tour­na­ment. With­out his guid­ance and bless­ing, the tour­na­ment would be noth­ing. Deo gra­tias! Viva Pit Señor!

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