SEMBAWANG – The 2012 Season of FilTA Basketball commenced Saturday morning, 8:30am at Sembawang. Players arrived on the hardcourt, a contingency made up of Filipino TA’s, ready to play and it was a race against nature itself as teams tried desperately to beat the glare of the afternoon sun.
Apart from the norm, games took place at the park fronting Block 326 as the original “homecourt”, where previous games were held, had unexpectedly been occupied. Nevertheless, the spirit of competition was alive and well and though it’s merely the beginning of preseason, the intensity was definitely not lacking.
Game 1: Vhox (VHO) 49 – Adrian (ADR) 31
VHO came out the gates clad in white jerseys, as they faced the colored ADR in a battle of attrition. Led by Vhox Maceda’s 12 points and Ermie Caracas’ 11, the white team utilized their efficient shooting and built an early lead on their opponents, who were repeatedly beat up and down the court. By halftime, the lead had become too large to overcome as ADR seemed to have conceded early on. Needless to say, the mental edge belonged to VHO who came to play.
Certainly not met without a challenge, however, it seemed every time ADR attempted to make a run, VHO had an immediate answer on the other end of the floor – including, in one instance, a spectacular slashing move towards the basket by Rennel Sable, who drew multiple defenders into the restricted area. Sable finished at the rim and converted on the circus shot which drew massive applause from the crowd.
Newcomer Sonnie Tindan also netted in 6 points in his FilTA Basketball debut.
ADR employed a balanced attack with scorers across the board, the team captain himself, Adrian Fan, scoring 7 points to lead but it wasn’t enough to offset the deficit in the 1st half. In the end, VHO trampled on the outgunned ADR and clinched the preseason opener.
Game 2: Team Gwapo 56 – Blue Ballers 56
By the 2nd game, the sun had started to show its ugly face and as such illuminated the concrete in a blaze of ultraviolet rays. Heat however, was less a factor in this exciting back and forth contest between two evenly matched squads. It was a game of runs, with neither team wanting to give up a hefty lead to the opposition.
It was a high scoring affair, as Team Gwapo initiated the attack with a blistering fastbreak offense. Team Gwapo’s fast paced tempo ran circles around the much slower Blue Ballers, who struggled to get back on transition D in nearly every instance. The Blue Ballers’ poor transition defense allowed Team Gwapo a myriad of uncontested layups on the offensive end, particularly Lloyd Nogot, who ran the opposing team’s defense to the ground. Nogot finished the game establishing his on court presence as a prolific scorer, garnering 18 points on efficient shooting.
But the story was Alphee Saspa’s size advantage and post-dominance which proved to be unstoppable. Saspa scored in the painted area at will and kept the Blue Ballers ahead for most of the game before Team Gwapo made a run at the lead in the 2nd half. Saspa finished with 25 huge points and a buck load of rebounds, and was for all intents and purposes, completely un-guardable. It will be interesting to see how other teams will try to adjust to the size and power differential.
The Blue Ballers also got some good help off the bench from Carlos Cinco, who drained two back-to-back 3-pointers in the 3rd quarter. Though he finished with 8 points, Cinco shot just 3 of 10 from the field in a poor shooting display.
The game ended at a stalemate, with both teams deciding to call it an even match.
Game 3: Silent Assasins 28 – Green Archers 38
(Aaaaaaaaand the sun was out pretty much the entire game. Even Gatorade couldn’t help this matchup. Plus the fact that I wasn’t able to watch it. Sorry guys! Had to go to JB. Next time I’ll stick around to recap the games. Great preseason!)