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Freeman Cebu Sports

OCCCI D-League basks in glow of inaugural season’s success

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
OCCCI D-League basks in glow of inaugural seasonâs success
The SJC-Maasin Green Hawks pose with pride after winning the championship in the college division of the OCCCI D-League Inter-School Basketball Tournament Season 1:Battle of the Best last Sunday, March 26, at the Ormoc Superdome in Ormoc City. They are joined by Ormoc councilor and basketball great Rey Evangelista, OCCCI’s finance head Arvin Villena, chief operating officer Mizpah Taala, and administrative officer Arlex Doroja, league commissioner Joel Hinay, and deputy commissioner Manuel Mislang.
Manny Villaruel

(SJC-Maasin, WLC-Ormoc, Baybay 1 CS crowned first ever champions)

CEBU, Philippines — As it envisioned from the very beginning, the OCCCI D-League has achieved tremendous success in its maiden journey punctuated by the coronation of three champions during its Inter-School Basketball Tournament Season 1:Battle of the Best last Sunday, March 26, at the Ormoc Superdome in Ormoc City.

For the first time in the sports history of Eastern Visayas, aspiring cagers from the elementary up to the collegiate level were given a platform to showcase their talents on a much bigger and wider scale through a well-organized, inter-school developmental league across the province.

Thanks to the noble endeavor of OCCCI, which moved heaven and earth just to give the Leyteno ballers a chance to further hone their skills that could also serve as their stepping stone in pursuing their hoop dreams.

“Mas sobra pa sa among gi-forecast ang amo na-accomplish,” said OCCCI’s chief finance officer Arvin Villena. “There were challenges along the way but thankfully we were able to pull it off.”

“And it’s very fulfilling because the league is not only for OCCCI but also for the players, the parents, the schools, the community, the local government unit, and the sponsors who are part of its success,” Villena continued.

OCCCI’s chief operating officer Mizpah Taala echoed Villena’s sentiments.

“Wala mi mag-expect nga ingon ani ka-positive and response sa mga schools,” Taala said. “Dugay nami gasuporta og mga liga but kaning opportunity nga gihatag namo karon sa mga batan-ong players mas dako na nga level mao nang malipayon kaayo mi nga naka-help in nurturing their dreams.”

In the Battle of the Best, the St. Joseph’s College (SJC) Green Hawks of Maasin City repulsed Ormoc’s Western Leyte College (WLC) Mustangs, 75-71, in their nerve-wracking final match to emerge as champions in the college division.

C-Jay Gonzales, a shining product of the grassroots program of Sisters of Mary School (SMS)-Boystown in Minglanilla, Cebu, showed the way for SJC-Maasin with 16 points to romp off with the Finals Most Valuable Player award.

He was ably backed up by Sammy Arandia with 14 points and Joshua Jumbo Gonzales,  who tallied 12 markers and 12 boards.

Ahead by just a hairline, 72-71, the Green Hawks went 3-of-4 from the foul line in the final 19.4 seconds of the contest to extinguish the title hopes of the Mustangs, who faltered despite the 21-point show of Kobe Christian Palencia on a dazzling 4-of-6 sniping from the 3-point land.

Not even the 17 points of Jomar Malinao and the combined 23-point output of Jude Martin Omega and Teodulo Omega could save the Mustangs from suffering a gut-wrenching defeat for the third consecutive time at the hands of their bitter rivals from Maasin.

The WLC Mustangs though still has something to be happy about as their younger comrades clobbered Ormoc City Senior High School, 70-54, to reign supreme in the high school level.

Christian Rile Veloso scattered 15 points, six rebounds, and four blocks in a stellar performance for the Mustangs that earned him the Finals MVP honors.

The Mustangs dominated Ormoc SHS from the get go, surging ahead by as much as 21 points, 55-34, in the wire-to-wire triumph.

In the elementary category, Baybay 1 Central School overcame a spirited resistance by its toughest rival San Juan ES to eke out a precarious 46-42 victory for the crown.

The Loreto twins Dan Ryl and Dar Nyl shined brightly for Baybay 1 after combining for 27 points, 30 rebounds, four assists, eight steals, and five blocks.

Dar Nyl Loreto, who finished with a massive double-double of 17 points and 18 rebounds laced with three steals, took home the Finals MVP trophy.

Paul Nygel Tesorero was the other double-digit scorer for Baybay 1 with 12 points on top of two rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.

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