Mayor Treñas’ New Normal basketball tourney successfully kicks off

Miguel Sasuman of Iloilo Executive at the charity line. (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

After almost two years, organized basketball is back in the City of Love and was welcomed with the successful opening of the 2022 Mayor Jerry P. Treñas New Normal Sporting Event basketball men’s tournament.

Made possible by the Iloilo City Sports Development Division (ICSSD) and the Executive Assistant for Sports & Youth Mr. Rudiver Jungco Sr., the new normal basketball tournament featured two categories: the open category and the 40-up category.

A basketball-filled Saturday graced the M.H. Del Pilar Covered Gym as games in both categories immediately began right after the opening ceremonies.

John Lester Samones and the rest of the Iloilo Executive squad gave the Ilonggo basketball fanatics a thrilling start in the tournament after getting their first win against the resilient Asia Link team, 96-90, that went as far as two extra periods.

The young Asia Link team looked to stun the star-filled Iloilo Executive team with the likes of Epoy Billones, Miguel Sasuman, Jester Famating, and Samones gracing the lineup as they took early control of the game and eventually the lead in the first three quarters but experience and veteran smarts prevailed in the court that led to the Executive win.

In the next game, the TEJ team outran team LEADGEN, 98-87, with Ronrei Tolentino leading his team with 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

From the get-go, coach Rhodel Camacho’s boys applied their signature full-court pressure that disrupted LEADGEN’s rhythm that never recovered in the second half.

Despite offensive efforts from Kein Apitong, LEADGEN failed to get within striking distance in the last five minutes of the game.

In the third game of the open category, Team Elite Lab demolished the Biron-Golez squad, 97-67, and showed a masterpiece performance on both ends of the floor.

Elite Lab’s defensive communication led by veteran Zaldy Patizar helped things clicked for them in the first half and was capped off with a waxing-hot three-point percentage courtesy of Marvin Cuerbo and Roy Jacinto.

Biron Golez never recovered and could only watch the well-oiled Elite Lab team mentored by coach John Guanco pummel them until the final canto.

Another demolition job was witnessed in the second to the last game when Team MDC asserted their mastery over Rebisco, 111-68.

Agapito Clarito powered his way in the paint and was awarded as the Tanduay Best Player of the Game with 25 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

In the last game of the opener, the J. Cordon team nipped the gritty Guimaras Leopards squad, 83-80, with JR Dulce carrying his squad with a 31-point explosion.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair as both teams battled it out in four grueling quarters but the breaks of the game fell in Cordon’s side which led to their first win of the grand tournament.