THE Zamboanga Valientes nipped the Zamboanga Sibugay Warriors, 87-86, to capture the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup 25U Championship recently at the Centralli Sports and Events Complex in Zamboanga City.
It was a seesaw game from the start, until Emilio Aguinaldo College team captain JC Luciano took matters into his own hands when he made two pressure-packed free throws in the dying seconds after being fouled by Kevin Dinglasa during a drive to snatch the win for the Valientes.
“That was an exciting finish, although we were down, we didn’t give up — and that’s why we are proud of the team,” Zamboanga Valientes’ coach Bobedick delos Santos said. “I am very proud of my players after making history as the first champion of VisMin 25U Championship.”
Philip Job Alcantara led the Valientes with 23 points, two rebounds, five assists and three steals to bag the Finals Most Valuable Player trophy.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Valientes after they lost to Sibugay in their first meeting.
Among the teams that competed in 25U tournament aside from the Valientes and Sibugay Warriors were Isabela Basilan Pirates and Misor Mariners RCC.
Team owner Rolando Junnie Navarro congratulated the team, saying the Valientes just proved themselves ready for bigger competitions.
“Congratulations to the team for winning the tournament 25U championship. It only means that we are ready to compete in a higher level of basketball competitions,” said Navarro, who confirmed that the Valientes will be joining the ABL Invitational Cup on January 2.
Zamboanga Valientes’ CEO Cory Navarro and Mike Venezuela of MLV Accounting are also proud of their 25U squad.
They also thanked Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe, Vice Mayor Pinpin Pareja and Congressman Khymer Olaso.
Founded by the late Lando Navarro in 2006, the Zamboanga Valientes also have sports programs to help their local athletes, like Tokyo Olympics’ gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Olympics bronze boxing medalist Eumir Felix Marcial and former world title challenger Jonas Sultan.