Zheng Chenggong Cup: Mission accomplished.
The Philippine National Police basketball team recently took part in the 9th Zheng Chenggong Cup international men’s basketball competitions in the bustling and booming city of Nan’an, Fujian province in the People’s Republic of China.
More than the results on the floor, the PNP Defenders played the role of the ambassadors of goodwill to the hilt, earning raves from their co-players from seven other teams from Taiwan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the host country.
“The players adhered to fair play and sportsmanship throughout the five-day tournament and this is a pleasant development in international basketball,” said Thailand’s Hi-Tech team manager Piyapong Piroon. “Win or lose, they never resorted to foul play.
Along the way, the PNP squad also fostered friendship and camaraderie among its peers and even to the local police force. Many more were awed by the popularity of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who had just come from a state visit to Beijing together with a business delegation.
The local organizers were much thankful of Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) Secretary General Graham C. Lim, who was instrumental in bringing in club teams from Korea (Enerskin), Malaysia (all-star selection), Thailand Basketball League (TBL) champs Hi-Tech and the PNP Defenders.
Lim was boosted by the presence of Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) president David Ong; Asia-Pacific University Sports Union (APUSU) president and FESSAP Board chair Alvin Tai Lian; businessman-sportsman Tai Xin Ming; Megaworld Corporation & FESSAP Honorary Vice Chair’s Danilo Madlansacay; and International Basketball Federation (FIBA –Asia) Secretary General Emeritus and Asian University Basketball Federation (AUBF) Honorary President Dato’ Yeoh Choo Hock of Malaysia.
The PNP team leader was led by Police Senior Superintendent Gilberto Cruz with Federico “Eric” Samson as PNP Head Coach and assisted by Juven Formacil. Edmundo Ang, Team Coordinator; Maria Cecilia Sarmiento, Secretary; and players are Harold Decena, Abul Khair Bayabao, Japheth Cabahug, Ronaldo Abaya, Crislyn Elopre, Ricardo Cabrera Jr., Harold Sta. Cruz, Rodel Ongutan, Alejandro Yanguiling Jr., Antonio Tolentino Jr., and Paul Ogayon.
Other teams that saw action in the 9th edition of the Zheng Chenggong Cup were Taiwan’s Fubon Braves, which featured Brooklyn Nets playmaker Jeremy Lin’s younger brother Joseph Shu-Wei Lin and American import Liam Paul McMorrow, and Kin Men Kaoliang, which was bannered by former pro-import Eugene Phelps; Singapore’s Tong Whye Physical Association, which had four Filipinos on its roster led by the Philippines’ Development League veteran and University of the East product Paul Christian Zamar, John Michael Noble Dagatan, Michael Gierald Parala Gomez and Ramsie Cinco Da Elvir; and the host Nan’an selection.
In the end, the one-game finals featured a pair of unbeaten teams from Taiwan.
The Fubon Braves broke away from a close game with a 14-0 blast bridging the third and fourth quarters to erase a 55-50 deficit and moved ahead for good, 64-55, early in the fourth frame.
The tree-like McMorrow paced the 5-0 Braves with 26 points. He was backed up by Wen Cheng Tsai’s 19 markers. Lin contributed eight points.
Phelps, who suited up for Phoenix Petroleum in the recently-concluded PBA Governors’ Cup, netted 30 points in a losing cause.
In the battle for third place, Nan’an, which topped the 8th Zheng Chenggong Cup, whipped Korea’s Enerskin, 107-81.
Zamar, a son of former national team coach Boysie Zamar who last played for Cafe France in the PBA D-League, produced the tournament’s single-game individual high with 40 points in seventh-place Singapore’s 93-91 double-overtime loss to Korea’s Enerskin.