LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The early favorites showed they are forces to reckon with as they opened their bids with wins in the Rep. Eric Go Yap Congressional Cup at the Benguet State University gym on weekend.
In a show of force, the three biggies – Bokod, Itogon, and La Trinidad 1 – made short works of their rivals during the opening of the three-month tournament.
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, the biggest yet in the league.
Former University of the Cordilleras playmaker June Ric Buenaventura registered the first double-double when he scored 20 points and 10 assists to lead the team from around Ambuklao Dam.
Big man Kendrick Joseph also put up a good performance with his double-double of 12 rebounds and assists, each on top of two blocks despite a measly two points.
Itogon also started hot and allowed only two points for Bakun in the first quarter as the team 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 with 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 had a jittery start, 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.
Armando Pollante rallied La Trinidad’s first team as he scored 22 points on top of 12 rebounds and 11 assists and the third triple double in the tournament.
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, res-pectively.
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.
Yap was joined by Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas during the opening rites where they watched the parade of teams with their mayors, who acted as manager, or their representative and their respective muses. The mayors then joined the two top Benguet officials.
Yap has urged the players to give their best as he plans to put up a Benguet team, whose members will be composed of the best after the tournament.
The champion will receive P250,000 and the same amount will be given as assistance to a cooperative within the winning municipality.
The first to third runners-up will also bring home cash prizes including a counterpart for their chosen cooperative in their municipality. – Press release