ANTIQUE, Philippines –The defending champion was just too much for a first-timer squad.
Reigning hoops champion Calabarzon continued to showcase their supremacy as they hammered the over-matched Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) athletes, posting a 50-point romp, 93-43, to clinch their second straight victory in the Palarong Pambansa 2017 secondary basketball elimination round held at San Pedro Gym on Tuesday, April 25.
The Calabarzon squad reinforced by San Beda Taytay’s stellar ballers relied on their choking full-court press right from the first whistle, forcing the neophyte ARMM to commit numerous turnovers that dictated the whole tempo of the match.
Stalwart cager Luke Sese of Southern Tagalog anchored his region down the stretch as he tallied 17 points including 3-of-6 shooting beyond the arc that further sank their opponents’ hope.
“Confident pa rin kami, kasi ‘di ba nga kami yung defending champion kaya parang may halong pride pa rin po yung every game namin,” Sese said in an interview after the game. (We’re still confident. We are the defending champions so that’s why we have pride in our every game.)
Calabarzon guards took over the limelight as Kai Oliva also fired 17 markers courtesy of his consecutive points through ARMM’s multiple turnovers while Kent Pelipel registered 15 points highlighted by his three triples all-match-long.
The Southern Tagalog Calabarzon Athletic Association (STCAA) stood out on both ends of the floor as they converted ARMMAA‘s successive errors to 58 fast break points that shut down the team composed of rookies in the national competition including their coach.
“Marami kaming ginawang adjustments kaso sadyang malalakas talaga yung Calabarzon,” ARMM’s coach Esmael Sema said. (We had several adjustments but Calabarzon’s players were really strong.)
He added: “So marami kaming natutunan sa laro. This is my first time na magcoach sa Palaro, lahat kami first time maglaro, so hopefully pagbalik makajackpot kami.” (This was my first time being a coach in Palarong Pambansa. We are all first timers, so hopefully next year we can hit the jackpot.)
Jockadin Angkokoy shone bright for ARMM’s campaign as he came up with a team-high 15 points to keep their heads above water despite not tasting a single lead in their 40-minute game.
The STCAA side widened the gap in the start of the second period as Sese and Joshua Tagala fired back-to-back three-pointers, outscoring their foe with a 30-11 onslaught in the third quarter.
“Sa mga upcoming games po namin, feeling po namin physical na po at saka mahihirapan po kami kasi malalaki na po yung makakalaban namin,” Sese stated. (In our upcoming games, we feel that it’s going to be more physical. We’ll have a hard time because we’ll be facing bigger players.)
Calabarzon is set to face the Negros Island Region on Tuesday, April 25 at 2:30pm. – Rappler.com
Quarter Scores: 21-12, 23-10, 30-11, 19-10
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