Tabango Lycans nips favored San Isidro Wings, nears San Isidro hoops title

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 30,2022 - 03:32 PM
Tabango Lycans

The Tabango Lycans pose for a group photo before their finals series match against the San Isidro Wings in the San Isidro Invitational League SIL-Fiesta Cup 2022 in San Isidro, Leyte. | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Tabango Lycans escaped the San Isidro Wings in overtime, 89-87, to take Game One of their Best-of-Three Finals series in the San Isidro Invitational League SIL-Fiesta Cup 2022 in San Isidro, Leyte last Friday evening, April 29, 2022.

Shane Menina canned a pressure-packed free throw at the close of the extension period to complete the Lycans’ upset of the favored San Isidro Wings headed by Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup champion coach Mike Reyes.

Leading by one point in the final seconds of the game, the Wings was forced to foul Menina with 0.1 seconds left. Menina then sank one of his free throws to win the game.

Both teams finished the regulation at 80-all. Incredibly, both teams also fielded Cebu’s best collegiate and pro players, making their hardcourt showdown more exciting.

Menina finished with 16 markers while Baruk Ceniza led the team with 23 points. Bernie Brigondo chipped in 12, JR Dinolan added 14 and JC Escalona tallied 10.

“Underdog jud kaayo mi kay pulos local players and mga batan-on pa jud. Naa lang mi duha ka veteran players sila Harol ug JR. Close game kaayo makalabaw lang mi two to four points,” said the Lycans’ head coach Phil Mercader.

Ironically, Mercader and Reyes teamed up with the KCS Computer Specialists-Mandaue City in winning the Visayas leg title of the inaugural Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup last year.

This time, they are calling the shots on the opposing side of the court.

Mercader was very proud of his team’s win considering that he formed it roughly two weeks before the invitational league. He also revealed that some of the players were signed three days before the tip-off.

“Nindot kaayo ang feeling to coach this team. Pag una abi nako mag lisud ko ug handle nila, but swerte ko kay gitagaan ko nila ug chance to coach them,” said Mercader.

He added that it’s a great honor to play against his former coach in a tournament like this one in Leyte.

“Tanan nga game plan, team play ila gibuhat and its a great honor to play against a great coach sa Cebu like coach Mike (Reyes). First time ni nako mag coach ug open league and ni abot pa jud ug finals kani palang daku na kaayo ni nga achievement nako. Thankful kaayo ko ni Boss DonDon Aropo and the whole Aropo family nga ako ila gipili na coach sa ila team,” added Mercader.

The Lycans gun for a title sweep when Game 2 unfolds tonight.      /rcg

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TAGS: basketball news, best-of-3 finals, Cebu Daily News, Game 1, Isidro Invitational League SIL-Fiesta Cup 2022, Leyte, mike reyes, Phil Mercader, San Isidro, San Isidro Wings, Shane Menina, Sports news, Tabango Lycans

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