Honeylene Mangulabnan was ‘speechless’.
In her three-year tenure as a basketball coach, she was a witness to how Living Angels Christian Academy dusted off Montessori De Sagrada Familia repeatedly in inter-school sports leagues, with the most recent being just 10 days ago in the MFVE Developmental League finals.
She could not contain her emotions after her wards kept their poise in a tight endgame to hold off their long-term tormentors, 63-57, and clinch the last district finals ticket of the BULPRISA Elementary Basketball division yesterday.
“Napakasaya, para kaming nasa ulap,” she shared.
The resurgent Squires made sure this time around that they won’t suffer another disappointment at the hands of the Archangels as they now move one step away from regaining their glory days.
Gerwyn Sorsano was brilliant all over the floor, punishing the Archangels’ vaunted defense with inside attacks and three pointers to finish with 29 points and lead the Sagradan squad to their first championship appearance since 2016.
But at the time when Living Angels cut an 11-point lead to three, 59-56, with a minute left to play, the Squires displayed resilience in spite of the homecourt disadvantage and battered reed-thin bodies to put the cherry on top of a dramatic game.
Andrei Buco was a hero on his own as he drained a key jumper to make it 61-56 with 44 seconds left. On the next play, he and Jerome Quizon stopped a crucial fastbreak play, forcing their opponents to foul on the next few possessions. Gian Marcelo then calmly sank the dagger free throws, sending a sparse Sagradan community in the LACA quadrangle to a frenzy.
Buco added nine points while Quizon chipped in with eight markers. Marcelo scored all of his six points in the second half.
“Very deserving sila. Yung lahat ng hard work nila ay natumbasan. Syempre galing pa rin talaga kay Lord, yung faithfulness nila kay Lord at yung skills and talents na bigay Niya. All praises talaga kay Lord,” said Ria Valondo, Student Program Coordinator.
Living Angels led, 23-17, midway through the second frame, but the Sagradans’ energy and hustle proved to be pivotal in this battle of championship-calibre teams.
The Squires were crashing the offensive boards, deflecting passes and scrambling for loose balls which disrupted the tempo of last year’s silver medallists. At the end of the third canto, the Sagradans were up 55-41.
With the Archangels officially out of title contention, Sagrada only needs to hurdle past Colegio Sta. Monica de Angat, a league-first timer who upset powerhouse Notre Christi Academy in the other semifinal faceoff. And the coaching staff will be ready for whatever they can bring to the table.
“Basta focus lang sila (Squires) sa opensa at depensa. First time lang ng Sta.Monica na sumali ng BULPRISA kaya nakakamangha…tapos umabot sila hanggang championship,” said coach Adrian Bognot.
It was a morale victory for the Squires, and they hope to carry in on Monday, where they will try to return to the provincial meet after a long wait.
The throne is now empty, and the Sagradan community fervently prays for a championship celebration again back home.
“We are keeping our hopes high! Our Squires have worked hard and their families, especially their supportive and doting mothers, have always been there in every game,” said school principal Maria Cristina Silamor.
By: Dan Angelo DL. Bagadiong
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