NMR-1 Eagles Alam Na defeated Opol Eagles Club, 95-89 to win the one-day invitational basketball tournament, highlighting the 2018 fiesta revelry of Barangay Iponan in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday.
The NMR-1 dribblers of team managers Anjun Gomez and Yogi Hembrador barely made it to the championship round after a nightmarish escape over the young but fierce SPC quintet in the semifinals.
“We’re very close to winning the game, though pag-start pa lang medyo respeto na daan ang mga bata sa atong mga beterano nga kuya,” said Ronald Acenas, team manager of the SPC Sharks for the Iponan Invitational games.
Coming back from double digits deficit, the Sharks anchored by Makmak Labares and Emmanuel Akut were suddenly up by three with just a minute left in the fourth and final quarter. But two successive SPC turnovers allowed Wellmonz Muñoz, Elmor del Puerto, Jeff Morial, Bodie Tamparong, LJ Aquino and company to rise from the jaws of defeat.
Runner-up Opol Eagles of team managers Toto Cortez and Gat Tamayo also encountered rough sailing against the local Iponan side that even led to the injury of Macapagal and the ejection of Lomboy Mendoza along with the opposing center Fernandez. But with Jun Pardillo, Joel Sollano and Cadano leading the charge, the Opol Eagles also managed to advance in the final.
“Thrilling kaayo ang mga dula. Gikulbaan sab ‘ming kuya Waway kay hapit gayud na bayong,” Con-Air Gomez told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.