By Dessert Fox
Al Khobar - It is no Big Dome, the venue of the heated 2010 UAAP finals. The PICE – EPSA duplicated Ateneo Blue Eagles and run roughshod on all its opponents.
The unheralded PICE–EPSA quintet with only wily and smart guard, Homer Pascual as holdover to last year's star-studded line-up has shown a big heart to snare this year's 2010 PPO–SA basketball plum. Pascual is a member of the MBA's Pampanga dragons. PICE-EPSA president, Jesus C. Mandi, after the team's last assignment with PICPA was ecstatic with "the shear walls-like defense and unstoppable offense won the title rather with ease." The PICPA encounter was over in a heartbeat as the proud civil engineers unleashed a devastating 16-0 run early in the fisrt quarter and then zoomed to many 42-point leads and never looked back as it claimed PPO-SA Sportsfest Kings of the Hoops.
Ten exciting basketball matches featuring five professional organizations were played the last two Fridays; September 17th and 24th. Five games were played each Friday. There was a short programme hosted by UAP's Geraldine Suede and Carlo Gregorio of PICPA. POLO-ERO's Labor Attache, the Honorable David Des T. Dicang extolled all the participants to display camaraderie and sportsmanship. The initial tip-off featured PICE and UAP with the former toying around and humbled the latter with a huge 46 points winning margin; 83-37. The succeeding game was a see-saw affair between PICPA and PSME. The Honorable Dicang reminisced his youth by playing off guard to the PICPAs. PSME won by 3 points; 63-60. PICE proved its first match was no fluke, anticipated a crucial match with the defending champion, IECEP by employing an unrelenting full court press. And frustrating the much taller IECEP no end by another big game; 75-44. PSME ruled over UAP; 75-58 on the fourth game. IECEP on the last game of the day avenged its sorry loss to PICE by scoring its first win versus PICPA; 54-46.
The sixth game was a battle royale between unbeaten teams; PICE versus PSME. The battle cry then of the third game of the civil engineers is to beat the mechanical engineers with the same big winning margin. And win PICE did; by limiting Ted Carian, its biggest offensive threat, 67-46. PICPA on the seventh game needed an extra 5 minutes to eventually win over UAP; 68-67 in overtime. IECEP escaped with a 52-47 score versus its nemesis, PSME on the nineth game. Feleo A. Gines, PICE head coach before its last assignment against the accountants went on to challenge the players to provide the same gusto and drive by "we were counted off right from the start, this is the time to prove ourselves and the opponents worthy to be kings of the hoops among peers of the professional groups." And went on to register a lopsided victory; 83-39. Lemuel Caballero shone brightest with 22 huge points in the first game and timely assists to the big men. Justin Arien, the prized point guard is consistent, averaging 16points a game. A steady force Pascual still exhibited his winning clever presence inside the court. Pascual wrought havoc with his 3-point plays against a notorious PSME squad. A Freddie Abuda clone, Taha Metaphor was scavenger resurrected. Giovanni Hallara, wove offensive magic, what with his 11 crucial points during a mild rally at the latter part of the third quarter against the accountants. Rodel Ludovice and Joel Navaratte were equally effective manning and protecting the shaded lane even against much taller and heftier big men. The PICE quintet with a solid first five played big in each game. Carmelo Ayunon, Marlon Lazo and Elsier Organo complimented and contributed quality minutes each match. Christopher A. Gonzales ably assisted in the coaching chores. The BODs and ex-officio directors were also in attendance bolstering support. The hapless UAP yielded to the defending champion, IECEP; 40-60 on the last match. IECEP this year is relegated to first runner up while PSME placed second runner up. PICPA and UAP are third runner up and fourth runner up respectively.
PPO–SA is Philippine Professional Organization–Saudi Arabia. PPO–SA is an umbrella group of professionals consisting of the accountants' PICPA-KSA-EP; the mechanical engineers' PSME-SA; the electrical engineers' IIEE-ERCSA; the civil engineers' PICE-EPSA; the architects' UAP-KSA-EPC and the electronics and communications engineers' ICEP-KSA-ERC. UAP's Liyo C. Cefre is the sports chairman while Erwin Pelaez of PICE is the basketball sports coordinator. IECEP's Anthony M. Laid heads as president of the PPO-SA officers.
Bringing out the best in each other, this year's theme exemplified the atmosphere among the participating professional groups. Other sporting events like lawn tennis, table tennis, darts, billiards and bowling are also being played at IPSA and Al Gosaibi Sports Center. Exciting volleyball matches and the battle of wood pushers are anticipated before the closing ceremonies on the first day of October.
IPSA, yes the International Philippine School of Al Khobar; not the Big Dome is the venue and witness to this basketball milestone.