AL-HASSA — The Saudi Cement Company (SCC) basketball team, led by Arvin Diamante and mentored by playing coach Benjamin Quijano and his assistant Joey Gabison, stunned STC Phone Pals 63-61 in the opening game of the 15th AHSA 2012 Basketball Tournament – 40 & Above Category.
The tournament is being organized by the All-Filipino Community & Sports Commission (AFCSCOM) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-ERO) under the auspices of the Al-Hassa Sports Association. The games are being held at the Al-Hajer Sports Complex.
The SCC Clinker Masters led from start to finish, routing their opponent 21-9 in the first quarter, courtesy of awesome triples from Edgar Lara and precise give-and-go plays by elite point guard Richard Suarez and hunk power forward Roque Sarmiento, who top-scored with 18 points.
The triangle defense imposed by ace guard Jimmy Alcano, forward Policarpio Largado and center Junard Repuesto prevented sporadic attempts by the opposing team to penetrate their wall-like blockade. Repuesto also dominated the boards with both offensive and defensive rebounds.
The SCC hoopsters again displayed superb fire power during the second (29-18) and the third quarters (43-37).
The SCC played safe in the last quarter by fielding their ever-dependable first five – Valerio, Sarmiento, Manacap, Alcano and Lapaceros, and competed without a legitimate center inside in order to control the ball better and infuse more mobility. Seeing the rally threat of the opposing team, playing coach Quijano shifted the play pattern from guard around offense to back door offense and made a big gamble by applying a highly physical and aggressive trap defense, which almost made them lose steam in the end.
However, a brilliant baseline inbound play pass in the last seconds was excellently executed by Valerio and Sarmiento gave a beautiful assist to the cutting Manacap, applied the finishing touches before the buzzer sounded.
Forwards Gary Degala and Joel Fernandez were not able to play due to knee injuries but were there to cheer for their team.