It had all the fireworks a championship game could show.
The Young Guns team prevented an amazing comeback from Team International, 21-18, in the nail-biting final game of the 3×3 Monol Basketball Tournament last November 8, 2017 at the Monol Basketball Court.
Leading early, the Young Guns team composed of Allan Alhambra, Charles David Halog, and Janrey Pengla loaded all their ammo and hit all their shots from three in successive fashion to dishearten Team International. Shooting with precision, Allan Alhambra made 3 three points shots successively to extend their lead while Charles David Halog drove to the basket to score difficult baskets against taller opponents. Allan Alhambra ended the game with 9 points while Charles David Halog led their team with 10 points.
The players from Team International looked out of the game in the early stanza after they were trailing by 9-2. After the Young Guns Team made a shot, Team International looked slow to rebound and to check the ball. Team International desperately heaved three point shots to no avail.
But after a team time-out midway through the game by the Young Guns Team, a completely different Team International showed up to play. The towering Mun Heeseung (Jacob) dominated the paint scoring with ease from under the basket. A sluggish start from Yuya Inoue (Yuya) quickly disappeared as he even ran from the paint to block a shot from the three point line.
The championship game now became a battle of who wants it more. Jacob towered the paint and scored quick baskets while Lu Qiyu (Caparzo) from Team International came in the game at the final moments and immediately made an impact. His drive to the basket led to 1 point and a free throw after a foul from the Young Guns team. Caparzo made the free throw to close the gap at 20-18.
The Young Guns Team desperately needed 1 basket to win. They struggled and looked for three point shots to win the game. Avoiding total collapse, the Young Guns team scattered themselves above the three point line and gave the ball to Charles David Halog.
And speed is what ended a near monumental comeback from Team International. Charles David Halog crossed his defender on the three point line with a clear and open path to the basket. With no defenders on the paint, Halog layed the ball in the basket before being fouled by a rushing defender. Basket or no basket, Charles David Halog opted not to shoot the final free throw since the score of 21-18 was enough to seal the game.
Monol International Education Institute gave the champions of the tournament t-shirts, medals, and a cash prize, while the first runner-up team received a cash prize.
Team International is composed of students from Monol who are basketball enthusiasts who battled it out in the round robin stages to play in the final game. They branded themselves as Team International since they came from different countries, Yuya Inoue is from Japan, Mun Heeseung is from Korea, Lu Qiyu and Cai Pengfei is from China. Their teacher John Paul Ferraro served as a substitute and mentor during their games.