The championship game of the Bayanihan Basketball League blew the roof off of the SLS Centre on Sept. 2 and became an instant classic.
Downtown Cochrane staged a massive comeback in the fourth quarter to win the inaugural championship of the league, 92-91, in the dying seconds against River Heights, who led for most of the game.
The fans packing the gym added to the highly charged atmosphere, cheering loudly with each point or defensive play while the lead seesawed back and forth.
River Heights held the lead until the dying minutes of the game after Downtown chipped away at what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.
"Everybody was just giving their best effort," says Downtown player Ryan de la Cruz. "It felt so good, man, especially winning the first Bayanihan tournament and I'm just happy playing with these guys. It was the best experience and it was a beautiful event."
The league was created as the first initiative of the local chapter of the United Filipino Entrepreneurs Association (UFEC) earlier this year. Its wild success surpassed all expectations, says chapter president Honey Fe Madrid.
She says they are working towards establishing a larger winter league and will be inviting Cochrane's entire basketball community to participate. They laid the groundwork by forming five teams from Cochrane's robust Filipino community, who are extremely passionate about the sport.
"We are expecting more than five teams because lots of people wanted to join, so we're hoping there's going to be more."
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