|The Philippines capped its three-on-three basketball campaign on a bright note with a 34-23 thrashing of Puerto Rico, Monday to finish ninth place in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games at the *scape Youth Space court in Singapore.
Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., son of former seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby, Sr., came through anew after he poured in 13 points which he spiked with seven rebounds, a block, a steal and no error before fouling out.
It was a reprise of his 10-point, five-steal effort in the 28-19 smashing of Iran Sunday, the powers that be in Asia but never here, that set them up against the other traditional powerhouse Puerto Rico.
The Filipinos won emphatically.
Michael Pate fired eight points laced with a pair of booming triples in a reserve role, while Jeron Teng, son of former pro Alvin, and Cris Michael Tolomia, younger brother of ex-PBA player Chester, chipped in seven and six points, respectively.
The win by the cage team was a source of pride for the Filipino community here and for the nine-man RP delegation that failed to snare a medal in the first ever staging of an event of this magnitude.
RP chief Mark Joseph said the feat of the Filipino dribblers should make everybody proud back home.
“Sometimes making an impact is enough,” said Joseph, who also heads the aquatics association. “We came here operating on logic that we could effect the opponents put before us and simply put, we took our chance.
“Folks back home need a cause, some reason to hit out of our usual apathetic drift. Our youth Olympic athletes carry an irresistible energy with them demanding that we Filipinos look at them.
“In reality, our team came in anonymity but made an impact and left a memory. Sometimes, just that is enough,” he added.
The Puerto Ricans never saw it coming as Parks was simply unstoppable, carrying the Filipinos to a 20-15 lead at the break — never looking back from there to nail the inspiring triumph.
Angel Torres Montavio, Kristian Medina and Abdel Badillo Martinez paced Puerto Rico, reserve Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo’s motherland, with nine, nine and five points but proved no match for Parks and the rest of the Filipinos’ grit.
It was a sweet ending to what looked like a doomed campaign for the Filipinos, who dropped three straight heartbreaking losses to US Virgin Islands, Spain and Croatia before closing the group stages with a non-bearing rout of South Africa.
And then it was cruise control from there as it massacred Central African Federation, a team that shocked Israel and nearly pulled the rug from powerhouse USA in the prelims, in a 22-13 win.(pr)