(JUL. 15)—Win some, lose some.
It was a tired but happy basketball team that came home after despite winning two of five games in the 2014 Buddha Light International Association Cup (BLIA Cup).
The BLIA Cup is a sport cultural exchange organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery (FGSM) held from July 2 to July 7 at the Kaohsiung Arena in Taiwan.
Although they failed to win the championship, Coach Rey Madrid said the organizers of the tournament were impressed with the UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (Fighting Maroons) performance. “They invited us again for next year because they were so impressed with our performance and they were very impressed with the style of play we have displayed,” he said.
The Fighting Maroons competed against the teams from I-Shou University of Taiwan, Tohoku Gakuin University (TGU) of Japan, Renmin University of China (Beijing), National Koashiung Normal University (NKNU) of Taiwan and Dan Kook University of South Korea.
They won against the teams from TGU and NKNU garnering scores of 83-75 points and 74-73 points, respectively.
According to Coach Rey, the Japanese team was considered as the “hot-shooting” team during the tournament and also had Most Valuable Player.
Fifteen players comprised the team, namely: Agustini Amar Jr., Renzar Henry A. Asilum, Darwish Vince E. Bederi, Diego Miguel Dario, Carlo Escalambre, Joseph Rey A. Gallarza, Moriah Joel B. Gingerich, Andrew Harris, Mark Kevin S. Juruena, Kyles Jefferson T. Lao, Jarrel Radley S. Lim, Christian Dave P. Moralde, Miguel Antonio R. Reyes, Paolo Luis J. Romero and Christopher Angelo C. Vito.
Coach Rey said participating in basketball tournaments such as the BLIA Cup will help improve the UP MBT’s performance in the UAAP Season 77 games.
“Because of the schedule that we have imposed on ourselves during Summer—from the 2014 Father Martin’s Cup continuing on to the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, to the Engineer Demetrio Quirino Cup and all the tune-up games leading to this BLIA Cup—we are now, I think, certified battle-ready,” he said.
Venerable Master Miao Jing of the FGSM Mabuhay Temple, Jeffrey Pagaduan and Kenneth Marius Raval, the team’s conditioning and training coaches, respectively, joined the UP contingent.
Cheering for the basketball team were the UP Pep Squad led by Coach Lalaine Perena, assistant coaches Niño Jose Antonio and Pio Niño Opinaldo, and pep squad members Suyin Chua, Nil Patrick Costales, Noelynne Jane Figuero, Juan Meliton Danilo Gerona, Bien Joseph Insigne, Lara Cristina Limpjap, Frances Audrey Muñoz, and Juan Carlos Soriano.
Straight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Fighting Maroons paid a courtesy call to UPD Chancellor Michael L. Tan on July 8 at the Office o the Chancellor in Quezon Hall.
Also present were College of Human Kinetics Dean Ronualdo U. Dizer, assistant coach and former Philippine Basketball Association player Edward “Poch” Juinio and Tricia Miranda-Fernandez.
The team’s Taiwan trip was sponsored by the FGSM Philippines while the university provided the logistical support and payment for the other fees. UP alumni Dan Palami, a businessman who backs the Philippine national men’s football team and active supporter of the UP MBT and Renan Dalisay, former co-chief of staff of former Senator Francis Pangilinan, also provided support to the team. —Haidee C. Pineda, image by Leonardo A. Reyes.