Game on for Cong Eric Yap cage tourney; Itogon, Bokod, LT1 open bids with a big bang

ONE OF THE BIG THREE? The Itogon team is one of the early favorites to win the Cong. Eric Yap Congressional Cup after beating their two opponents by an average margin of 40 points. PML

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Expectedly, the stronger will be at the top of the food chain and the less will simply bow down.

In a show of force, the three expected biggies – Bokod, Itogon and La Trinidad 1 – did not even break a sweat as they made short works of their rivals at the opening of the Cong. Eric Go Yap Congressional Cup at the Benguet State University gym here, Saturday.

Bokod literally lit the rafters of the gym early afternoon as it methodically decimated Kibungan for a 99-44 rout or a 55 point victory as the mayor Tomas Wales, Jr. led squad made use of former college players in denying baskets for the team’s northern rivals.

Former University of the Cordilleras playmaker June Ric Buenaventura registered the first double double as he scored 20 points and 10 assists to lead the team from around Ambuklao Dam to the win.

Big man Kendrick Joseph put up also a good performance with his double-double of 12 rebounds and assists, each on top of two blocks despite a measly two points.

“It’s our first time together,” admitted the younger of the Buenaventura sibling as the big men struggled including the much taller John Rey, the 2016 Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League most valuable player, who administered the oath of sportsmanship during the opening ceremonies.  The older Buenaventura made four points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

The 55 point difference is also the biggest margin in the just launched Congressional Cup.

While Bokod had the biggest winning margin, Itogon also started hot and allowed only two points for Bakun as the team from the town that hosts the Binga Dam and San Roque Dam, partly, cruised to a 104 – 60 demolition.

Omer Baluch came out roaring as he scored the Yap Cup’s first triple double – 31 big points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. Actually, two Itogon players made triple double on their debut with youthful Jude Quitalbo chipping in 16-10-10 on top of a single steal and block, while Alejandro came short of the same with an 11-10-8 performance.

Virgilio Evangelista, Jr. top scored for Bakun with 14 markers, seven rebounds and four assists.

La Trinidad 1 started sluggishly, even gave up the lead 20-22 with less than a minute left in the first period, but rallied to score five straight points to take a 25-22 lead before cruising to a 96-80 win in the last game during the opening day.

Former Baguio College of Technology big man Armando Pollante proved the pivotal piece for the Valley’s first team as he scored 22 points on top of 12 rebounds and 11 assists and the third triple double in the one day old tournament backed by Benguet Rep. Eric Yap.

The two Keanb’s – Will Kean Lee and Kean Zackery Diaz – backstopped the league’s tallest player with 17 and 16 markers, aside from posting 6-5 and 5-5 rebounds-assists, respectively.

Kyle Aldich Naisod waxed hot from downtown and connected 10 of his attempts to finish with a game and tournament high 32 points for the losing Kabayan squad. The political science graduate from Saint Louis University got much help from Jubert Naisod, who chipped in 10 markers.

Yap was joined by Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas during the opening rites at 8AM with the parade of the teams with their mayor, who act as manager, or their representative and their respective muses.

Yap in his speech urged the players to give their best as he plans to put up a Benguet team, whose members are the bests in the Yap Cup.

He said that PhP250,000 will be given to the champion team, while the same amount will be given as assistance to a cooperative within the winning municipality.

He also gave certificates and cash to six Palarong Pambansa medal winners during the opening ceremonies.

The league’s youngest team, Tuba opened its bid with a 64-41 win over Buguias on Sunday.

Cyril de Vera and Amiel Gacula scored 11 and points, respectively, for Tuba’s team whose members are mostly high school students. The two actually posted double-double performances with de Vera adding 10 assists, while Gacula made a team high 12.

De Vera also had a team high eight rebound and two steals, while Gacula added three boards and team high four steals.

Jumar Pulido paced the losing side with 12 markers, nine rebounds beside a team high seven assists and single block and still, while Akarick Tinda-an added six points and team high 10 rebounds, five assists and as well as three blocks and two assists, both team high.

Atok joined the win column with a 56-38 rout of the mayor Armando Lauro led Tublay team.

La Trinidad’s team B, meanwhile, proved to be as deadly as it steamrolled past Kapangan, 97-62.

Aaron Nang-as and two other players made sure La Trindad ahead from the get posting a 21-14 lead at the first quarter, which was a 47-30 advantage at halftime and a 74-51 affair after the third period.

Nang-is topscored with 17 points, beside eight rebounds and seven assists, while proving to be a pesky guard as he successfully stole the ball six times.

Big man Bryan Estepa made 13 points, team best 11 rebounds and equaled the team best seven assists of Nang-is, while blocking three attempts from the other end.

Point guard Ethan Tan added 11.

Former Cordillera Career Development College big man and coach Fenrie Atinyao had a triple double with 20-10-10, points-rebounds-assists, to lead Kapangan.

John Russel Tuazon and Armando Pollante scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, to La Trinidad’s first team to its second straight win and dealt Sablan its second loss in the two day league.

Tuazon added four rebounds, two assists and lone steal, while the 6’4” former BCT center made a double double with 16 boards, while making two blocks and a single steal.

Will Kean Lee chipped in 14 markers on top of four rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Jeremiah Buslay finished with 16 points, including four from rainbow country to lead the losing Sablan squad. He added eight rebounds and five assists. Patrick Shontogan added three markers for Sablan.

Five players scored in double figure as Itogon blasted Kibungan 98-61.

Arven Carantes made 13 markers, playing coach Ferdinand Sapalong, Omer Baluch and Aljay Cuyahon added 11 points each, while Jude Quitalbo added 10 for Itogon won to join La Trinidad 1 at the top of the leaderboard with two wins against no loss.

Jeffrey Abansi finally joined his team after missing the first game and top scored with 18 markers.

It will be a double header on Thursday at the La Trinidad municipal gym with the two home squads face each other, while Bokod hopes to give the young Tuba squad a lesson. The second La Trinidad team, Bokod and Tuba are all seeking their second wins.

After two days, Itogon is the best offensive team with 101 points per game, while giving up 605 points to their opponents.

Jonathan Peralta of Mankayan, meanwhile, registered the first score in the tournament with a trey, while the 32 of Kyle Aldich Naisod of Kabayan is the tournament top score, including a tournament high of 10 triples. Other records include the 20 rebounds of Baluch, while Caballero of Itogon shares the high assist of 13 with Kapangan’s Leo Marc Camilo.

Carantes and Nang-is, of Itogon and La Trinidad B, respectively, have six assists each and tournament best, five players share the most number blocks in a game with three. Pigeon Lobien



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