Cameroon national Landry Zanjo debuted with 40 points as he steered UNO-R/Red Taiwan Shabu-Shabu to a 75-63 win against NOPSSCEA defending champion Colegio de Sta. Ana-Victorias/Silver Dragon during the opener of the Negros Basketball Association President’s Cup at Bacolod Tay Tung High School Po Hang Gym last night.
In the second game, ESJ FyrFyter turned back LCC B-Davies Paint J, 87-80, to register its first win.
At 6’7, Zanjo used his massive frame to dominate the post while giving his teammates the confidence to shoot from the distance as he effortlessly grabs the rebound for second-chance points.
Taking several minutes to adjust to his new team, the big man from Cebu scored 10 of UNO-R’s 18 points in the first quarter as they trailed Sta. Ana, 18-21.His 11-point production in the second canto outscored CSA-V’s 10-point total output as Red Taiwan grabbed the lead, 38-31, at halftime.
Former St. La Salle Stinger Kevin Villaranca has no problem playing with Ram teammates as he tallied 14 points at the end of the game.
Trying to neutralize Zanjo’s presence at the post by putting the pressure on UNO-R in the backcourt, CSA-V stayed within striking distance all throughout the game.
With Junior Essakadoula, also from Cameroon, giving Zanjo a good challenge, the NOPSSCEA champions never allowed UNO-R to get far ahead as they repeatedly cut down the lead to a single digit in the fourth quarter.
Five other UNO-R players completed Red Taiwan Shabu-Shabu’s opening day win with Aljohn Catague and Patrick Yulo contributing 6 points each, while Kim Dimaranan added 4 points, Leonard Mustre with 3, and Japet Claridad, 2 points.
Essakadoula topscored for CSA-V/Silver Dragon with 18 points while Carl Magbanua backed him up with 13, Jeric Adorio shot 10, Sean Sajo finished with 6 points, Jeffrey Manday chipped in 5, Joseph Rojo contributed 3 points, and John Valdez and Billy Rojo with 2 points each.
Meanwhile, NBA President Oscar “Dodong” Bascon thanked his fellow officers, the directors of the league, and the tournament organizers led by commissioner Bobby Tee and secretary-general Tony Agustin for bringing back the NBA games after years of hiatus.
He also cited opening day guest speaker Robert Uy, the regional director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for supporting the NBA.
In his message, Uy said the NBA is the most prestigious basketball association in Negros Occidental and he is one of those who welcome its revival this year.
“As the SBP head in Region 6, my new assignment is to make sure that the basketball program in the region keeps on improving and I’m very happy to know that NBA after so many years is active again,” Uy said.
Aside from UNO-R, CSA-V, LCC, and ESJ FyrFyter, the five other teams vying for the title in the NBA President’s Cup are: Dawn Rent A Car, Duke Jay Game Farm, Melfern, Supreme ABF/Silvergraces Contruction and USLS – Freeze Sportswear.
Games are played on weekends and the holidays with Silver Graces going up against La Salle today in the first game at 2 p.m., followed by the matchup between Melfern and CSA-V in the second game and UNO-R against Dawn Rent A Car in the 5:30 p.m. schedule.*NAB
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