By Val Macanas
Eager to make a mark in the first game of the GMA Basketball League 2015, Team Ijuander outlasted Team Unang Hirit, 87-85 to start their tournament campaign on a high note on Saturday at the UP Technohub Gym in Commonwealth Q.C..
It was a seesaw battle all throughout as the teams exchanged leads from the first quarter up to the pay-off period. You might want to take a look at the quarter scores below to see how competitive the game was.
Ijuander: 13 24 27 23 - 87
Unang Hirit: 22 14 19 30 - 85
Team Unang hirit was led by the streaky shooter matinee idol Mikael Daez while the winning team Ijuander was spearheaded by their best player Pancho Magno. Magno has been one of the most consistent players in the league since last season and he once again showed his awesome basketball skills in their opening day victory.
He and Mikael engaged in a a highly entertaining shootout as they drained multiple triples and perimeter jumpers. Sadly, with the game on the line, with .4 of a second left, Mikael missed a potential game tying shot.
87-85 was the final score in favor of Ijuander.
There were also other ballers who showed up in this match such as Neil Sese and Benson Dela Paz. Neil nailed the equalizing 3-pointer to make it 85 all with less than a minute left in regulation. He was starting to sizzle but unfortunately in their next possession he encountered a roadblock courtesy of the do-it-all Ijuander guard Benzon Dela Paz who stole the ball from him en route to issuing a wonderful pass to his teammate Pancho Magno who failed to sink the all important lay-up. Fortunately, Dela Paz got the loose ball and then he delivered the killer blow 2-pointer. He gave the lead to Ijuander en route to winning the ballgame.
Pancho Magno finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds to earn the best player of the game honors. Dela Paz meanwhile notched a silent 12- point output to go along with 6 assists.
You can know more about the league here: www.facebook.com/gmabasketball. Be sure to check it out every once in a while as the league is looking to expand and invite other teams to the fold.