DLSZ wins WNCAA basketball championship
Contributed by Louie Razon
Bringing back the crown that they last won in 2005, the DLSZ Junior Lady Archers completed a sweep of the tournament and brought down a game St. Jude Catholic School, 62-41. It was a tough emotional win for Coach Barry Tobias’ charges as they worked through a shaky first quarter and broke open the game in the third quarter.
The game began with both sides playing extremely tight with scoring coming solely from putbacks and easy layups. Center Jamie Roxas accounted for Zobel’s first six points and backup center Isabel Menchaca accounted for the other four points of the Alabang girls in the first quarter, a grand total of 10. Fortunately, the preparations for defending St. Jude’s top gun, Jolina Go, paid off and St. Jude scored an even more meager 8 points.
In the second quarter, both teams labored hard to score as St. Jude had also made adjustments to stop DLSZ’s fastbreaks off turnovers. To top it off, point guard Kat Nuñez was nursing a fever and so the usual Zobel buzz saw was going in fits and starts. Six minutes of play saw the score at only 19-14. But the Junior Lady Archers once again finished strong in the second quarter as Angel Caldo scored to boost the lead to 26-18 with ten seconds to go in the second. St. Jude called timeout to call a last play but then team captain Annette Razon made a crafty interception of the inbound and scored to send DLSZ into the lockers with a more comfortable 28-18 lead.
Championship nerves settled after half time, the Junior Lady Archers went on a scoring tear in the third, highlighted by a three-pointer by junior Sam Razon. Kat Nuñez had to be sat down with 4 fouls with 3 min left in the third but Zobel had a comfortable lead by then, 44-27. St. Jude in the meantime was still struggling on the offensive end and the lead bulged to 20 at the end of the third, 49-29.
The game was firmly in control thereafter and Nuñez returned with five minutes to go in the fourth to further balloon the lead to 28. Both teams traded baskets from then on, until the final buzzer. The meticulous scouting and pregame preparations of Coach Barry Tobias paid off huge dividends again as Mythical Five member Jolina Go was limited to 11 points, many of them during garbage, after a 35-point barrage in the Game 1.
At the end of the game, it may have been difficult for an unaware observer to tell who won the game as both sides openly broke out into tears and sobs. A rugby scrum would be the apt description for the jubilation of a team that had worked so hard for years to get to this stage. The core of this team came together under coach Chiqui Soriano in grade school when its sole play was Menchaca flinging the ball to a streaking Nuñez.
The collective experiences of this team: 7 am games; losing in double-overtime in the WBL Finals of 2009; getting blown out by 40; blowing out other teams by 40; getting trapped in the St. Scho gym by Ondoy floods; back-to-back-to-back games in the NCR tournament, injuries and illnesses, have really bonded the girls and their cohesion and unselfish team play stamped its class on the league.
Jubilation was complete as Roxas and Nuñez were announced as part of the Mythical Five along with St. Jude’s Jolina Go, Marielle Lamar from Miriam College and Loraine Capilit from sister school La Salle Antipolo. There was very little surprise when Kat Nuñez was hailed as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
In the midgets tournament, DLSZ overwhelmed traditional powerhouse Miriam College by such a large margin that no one seems to remember the final score. Coach Maan Moreno’s little girls showed what could be done with pure heart and skill as Miriam had significant advantages in height and heft. It was back-to-back championships and MVP’s for the midgets as Marga Jimenez was declared MVP. Juniors rookie Margaux Nonato was midgets MVP last year. Joining Marga Jimenez on the Mythical Five were DLSZ’s Joie de Luzuriaga and Jel Alliah Jajurie.
The midgets volleyball team made it a perfect day for DLSZ as they likewise won their championship.
Next up for the Junior Lady Archers is the Women’s Basketball League (WBL) with a different field. In the WBL they will unleash power forward Nicole Arguelles whose WNCAA eligibility was used up when she was plucked from the midgets team to play for high school.
DLSZ: Nunez-21, Roxas – 12, S. Razon -10, A. Caldo – 9, A. Razon – 6, Menchaca – 4, Medina -3.
SJCS: Yu – 17, Go – 11, Tanking – 7, Sabido – 5, Lee – 2
Photos courtesy of Bernard Morillo