NCR highlights dominant Palaro run with basketball gold

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Capital Region flexed its muscles as it clinched the overall championship in the Palarong Pambansa anew, capping of its dominant campaign this year with a gold in basketball. 

Bannered by reigning UAAP champions NU Bullpups, NCR defended its secondary boys' basketball title over Central Luzon in a blowout 103-79 win at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym here on Saturday, May 4. 

This is NCR' fourth straight title in the event and the third consecutive for the Bullpups since they started representing the region in 2017. 

Despite parading a squad with shooting and consistent big men, Central Luzon was not the type which could stop the team that recently subdued the 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto and the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP juniors finals. 

Terrence Fortea waxed hot for 5 triples to finish with a game-high 22 points before basking on the bench for the entire final frame as NCR built an insurmountable lead. 

Jerry Abadiano had 17 points, Reyland Torres added 15 while Cebuano playmaker Steve Nash Enriquez drilled in 10 points. 

NCR's 6-foot-9 tower Carl Tamayo did not need to go all out, but his presence inside was enough to force Central Luzon to take low-percentage shots. 

"Hindi ito isang linggong liga, it started mula sa Manila meet, tapos regional then sa Palarong Pambansa, kaya very proud kaming lahat," NCR head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.

(This is not just a one-week league. This started in the Manila meet, then the regional meet before we reached the Palarong Pambansa. That's why we're all proud of ourselves.) 

Over at the Human Kinetics Gym of the University of the Philippines Mindanao, NCR's secondary volleyball teams also seized gold medals after winning their separate championship matches against Western Visayas.

Reigning supreme in basketball and volleyball, NCR completed its quest for a 15th straight Palarong Pambansa overall crown with a haul of 86 gold, 71 silver and 56 bronze medals. 

Calabarzon placed 2nd with 66-49-73 (gold-silver-bronze), followed by Western Visayas with 49-40-58 at 3rd, Soccsksargen with 26-43-40 at 4th and Central Visayas with 24-22-33 at 5th.

Completing the top 10 are Central Luzon (23-29-33), Northern Mindanao (17-27-26), Ilocos (16-13-21), Cordillera Administrative Region (14-13-24) and Davao Region (13-22-37). 

Caraga (13-10-14), Eastern Visayas (11-8-19), Cagayan Valley (6-6-8), Mimaropa (4-7-12), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (3-10-6), and Zamboanga Peninsula (2-4-21) landed at 11 to 17th places. – Rappler.com