HUA SIONG College of Iloilo Red Phoenix and St. Robert’s International Academy Panda Rockets arranged a championship duel in the 2019 Bingawan Foundation Cup-Preseason High School Basketball Premier Tournament, Season 3.
The defending champion Red Phoenix earned a chance to defend its crown after a 95-83 victory over Sta. Clarita International School Primes. The Panda Rockets defeated the CenterPhil Montessori Silver Knights, 90-72, in the other series.
The one-game championship between the Red Phoenix and Panda Rockets is slated at 3 p.m. today in the same venue after the battle for third place game between Primes and Silver Knights.
Added attraction to the championship match is the presence of University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo, who will serve as the finale’s special guest.
Ayo could also use this opportunity to scout for new players for the Growling Tigers team. Last year, the one-time NCAA and UAAP champion coach recruited Reynold Tupas and Jan Villariza from the Red Phoenix.
Ayo will also conduct ABC Basketball or “Ayo in Bingawan, a sports Clinic in Basketball” from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. The event was part of the multi-awarded program “Bingawan Ayaw sa Droga (BAD)” of the city.
The Philippine boxing team will have a busy stretch for the remainder of the year as it competes in three major tournaments capped by its bid in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in December.
Men’s team coach Roel Velasco said the Filipino pugs are now in the thick of preparations for the coming World Championships in Yekaterinburg, Russia this September, followed by the SEA Games three months after, and then possibly, the Olympic qualifiers beginning in January of 2020.
Velasco confidently said the boxers are capable of surpassing the two gold, one silver, and two bronze medal finish the country achieved in the last staging of the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two years ago.
“Malalagpasan natin ‘yung ginawa nila sa Malaysia lalo na at tayo ang host this December,” said Velasco, who was accompanied by Eumir Felix Marcial, John Marvin and Ian Clark Bautista in the PSA Forum earlier this week.
Velasco hopes to trim the final roster of eight boxers for the men’s team and five for the distaff side by late October or early November.
He added the performances of the Filipino boxers in the World Championships will also weigh in on their chances of making the SEA Games team.
“Kasama rin ‘yun sa selection (process),” said the brother of former Olympic silver medallist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco and national team coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco.
Velasco, though, is not certain whether the boxing meet in Russia will already serve as the initial Olympic qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Games. But, if not, Velasco said he expects the series of qualifiers for the Olympics to start by January of next year./PN