Ateneo defends Flying V title

Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan

ATENEO de Davao University (Addu) Blue Knights defended its title after beating Holy Child College of Davao (HCCD) Reds, 77-70, in the championship match of the Fil-Oil Flying V Juniors Invitational Basketball Tournament at the Rizal Memorial Colleges (RMC) Gym on Saturday.

The title-retention victory came on the heels of a come-from-behind 86-84 win over Davao Jones Academy (DJA) in their semifinals showdown. The Blue Knights were trailing by as much as 15 points in the first quarter but rallied down the stretch to pull off the win in one of the most thrilling match in the league.

While both teams fought their hearts out on the court, their families, friends and fans came to give them the needed boost, thus, spicing up the event with cheers and yells that reverberated inside the gym. Ateneo also had a drum beater and pretty cheerleaders who danced and cheered with much frenzy to the delight of other spectators.

DJA supporters, however, were no pushovers. They also came prepared with pompoms, banners and energy.

Ateneo coach Jess Evangelio, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao after the semifinals game, cited his players for their "heart".

"Kami ang defending champion. Pinakita lang nila ang heart na gustong idefend ang championship. Bonus nalang ang magandang offense and defense kahit ang bench nag-contribute. Thankful kami na may crowd kami na ganito. Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy na sa title defense," Evangelio said.

Axel Doromal poured in 23 baskets while Ion Angeles chipped in 20 in the match opposite DJA. The team was also composed of Dariel Manliguez, Christian Bacalso, Jethro Taculin, Kent Batillo, Miggy Castillo, Joaquin Wall, Joachim Agamon, Rafael Presbetero, Zhou Go, Isaac Go, Andre Nebria and Lex Blanco.

Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles and his wife Marga, Toby Ang of Angcore, Freddie Mendoza of Cargo Air and Lito Cabrera also supported the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas-sanctioned league presented by Fil-Oil and Flying V.

Kilusan at Alyansang Samahan ng mga Manlalaro sa Dabaw (Kasama-Davao), Incorporated headed by its president Rolando Tagaytay organized the cagefest.

True enough, the Blue Knights survived past Holy Child in yet another nailbiter in the finals. The latter escaped a 77-76 win over Ford Academy of the Arts in the other semifinals game.