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THE Inarajan Heat’s two big men, Holden Barcinas and DeAndre Cruz, swatted away Typhoon shot attempt after shot attempt, owned the paint and, on the other end of the floor, combined for 29 of the team’s 46 points.
Starting the game with only six players on their roster, the U12 Tamuning Typhoons would have their hands full in this Summer Jam 2012 Championship basketball game. Before the start of the game, league coordinator and Typhoons head coach Elsa Ulloa addressed the crowd: “Looks like this should be a good game; they’re well matched, except in numbers.”
Barcinas was the first to light up the scoreboard, banking in a layup, getting fouled, and heading to the line. Less than a minute later, the Typhoons’ Takumi Simon (eight points first half, game-high 25) drained a 3 from the top of the key. Coach Ulloa’s pre-game words seemed to ring true.
The Heat and Typhoons would spend much of the first half trading buckets, with the Typhoons’ Simon dropping in another three-point bomb from deep, plus a short jump shot, which put his team up by one (14-13) which ended up being their last lead of the ball game.
Trailing the talented Typhoons didn’t seem to sit well with the Heat’s twin towers. Taking matters into their own hands, the tough twosome led the Heat on a 15-0 run (Cruz and Barcinas finished the first half with 10 points apiece).
During halftime, trailing 28-18, the ever-vigilant Ulloa spent the entire rest period discussing strategy with her tired team, while the loose Heat squad, with smiles on their faces, used the rest period as a shoot-a-round. After the game, coach Ulloa commented on what she told her kids during the intermission, “I told them that defense wins games. I told them to put the pressure on the ball and we switched to a 3-2 defense and that was the difference.”
Starting the second half, the Heat stayed hot, with Jose Taimanglo popping his third three-pointer of the game (Taimanglo finished with 13 points). Moments later, Cruz nailed a 5-footer, increasing the lead to 34-14. Leading by 20, the Heat’s coach took the opportunity to play his bench, giving Cruz, Barcinas and Taimanglo a well-deserved rest.
Not rolling over and playing dead, Simon seized the opportunity, scoring all but two of his team’s second-half 19 points. Seeing their once seemingly insurmountable lead cut down to three points, 40-37, the Heat’s three-headed monster (Cruz, Barcinas and Taimanglo), now back out on the floor, stepped on the gas, pulled back into the lead and helped their team claim the championship, 46-37. In the second half, Cruz scored nine points (19 for the game), Taimanglo scored eight, while Barcinas snagged eight boards (16 total rebounds for the game).
After the game, Heat coach Roy Taimanglo commented on having his once 20-point lead, at one point, dropping to only three: “To me it’s not so much talking about the game plan, it’s about getting the kids to participate in the game. I knew that after the lead was gone, my starting five would recover.”
Commenting on Cruz and Barcinas, he said: “They’re our go-to guys. Big guys win basketball championships.”
In defeat, Coach Ulloa – a "class act" – congratulated the victors: “Credit goes to the Inarajan Heat, they did great. They ran us down and they deserved that win.”