By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre Jr.
The Class of ’89 remain alive in the single-elimination playoffs of the Father Duenas Alumni Basketball Tournament after defeating Class of ’88, 28-22, at the FD “Jungle” Gym Wednesday night.
Both teams executed half court offense for majority of the game, but with a few fast break spurts led by Lynnwood Baker, ’89 was able to jump up front with the early lead. ’88 had a difficult time sinking shots inside with the defensive presence of ’89’s big man, George Valdes, lurking at every shot. Valdes had a huge block in the middle of the half to spark some energy into his team…momentarily; they went back to their half court offense seconds after. With the class of ’88 being forced to take contested, mid-range jumpers, ’89 was able to take a commanding 11-point lead to end the half, 18-7.
“A part of me wants to win, but the other part of me doesn’t want to because that means we’ll have to play again,” joked Valdes at the half as he described the toll that the tournament is taking on his body.
Class of ’88’s Joe Ochoco sunk a trey to begin the second half, but the five-minute halftime break proved to be an insufficient amount of time to rest as both teams were fatigued and were unable to score for the following eight minutes.
The scoring slump was finally broken when ’88 scored back-to-back jumpers by Phil Roberto and Gordy Leon Guerrero, closing the gap to ten with the score 21-11. ’88 upped their tempo, following the scores with stellar defense that gave them two straight opportunities to score off a fast break, but both layups were missed. The crowd began to cheer in their favor, but the cheering soon turned to the other team when ’88’s Alfred Leon Guerrero had his layup sent the other way by a huge block from ’89’s Sam Teker.
With five minutes left of play,’89 found themselves up, 24-16. They began to move the ball around, slowly looking for an easy shot while running down the clock in the process. Although ’88 was able to score some quick baskets off hustle plays, ’89’s scoring seemed to be unstoppable as they ended the game with the 28-22 win.
With the win, ’89 will now move forward in the playoff rounds to face the much younger 2008 alumni team on Liberation Day.
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