BANFF – MVP Kenneth Fontarum and Blitzkrieg are the 2019 Bow Valley Filipino-Canadian Basketball League champs after squashing Voyager Inn, 81-58, on Saturday night (Aug. 10) in Banff.
Fontarum scored a team-high 32 points in Blitzkrieg’s second championship in four consecutive seasons of making the finals.
Blitzkrieg was determined to hoist the championship trophy again after losing last year’s finals to the Hunters.
“We waited for a year to have this redemption and then we completed it, so I feel so happy right now,” said Marc Reyes, Blitzkrieg’s captain. “All season long we always started slow … so for this one, we wanted to emphasize the pace at the start. We put the quick baskets so we were able to dictate the pace of the game.”
John Santiago lifted the trophy for the second time with Blitzkrieg after back-to-back seasons of shortcomings with the club.
“It feels amazing to have this again. I know my teammates and how much we want this and how much it means to them so I’m really proud of them and how we worked,” Santiago said, who scored 11 points in the finals.
On top of having a swift start, Blitzkrieg’s other game plan was to shut down John Bunao, Voyager Inn’s powerhouse scorer and court general.
“(The) key was stopping their point guard, John Bunao,” said Santiago. “Everything comes through him and he’s an amazing player - much respect to him - and that was the key, I feel like. But also, making sure the other players on the team had contested shots.”
Bunao scored a team-high 32 points and Sherwin Berdin added eight.
Earlier that night, Banff’s Hunters won bronze, 78-74, over Team Canmore at Banff Community High School’s gymnasium.
Hunters John Jericho Agir dropped a team-high 27 points and Ian Lhey Nunez added 19.
Team Canmore’s Donard Alivio Quinon scored a game-high 30 points and Arnie Fidel put in 22.
Down five points entering the second half, the fatigued Hunters were about to hit a wall due to playing with a short bench – eight players total.
“We didn’t have enough players to switch … it was very tough,” said Hunters’ Jason Navarra. “You don’t know if you have enough players and everyone is so tired and our coach is giving us support … this is the last game, this is the last chance. We had to do something.”
Luckily for the Hunters, one of its players had the shot accuracy of a sniper in the second half.
Agir caught fire and scored 20 of his 27 points in the final two quarters, including four three-pointers in the third.
“My mindset was just winning this game, enjoying it and having fun,” said Agir. “I needed to stand up for my team, that’s what it is. If you’re a leader, you got to stand up.”
A costly technical foul was a major blow to Team Canmore in the final 45 seconds of the game with the Hunters leading 74-72. Jeff De Leon swished both free throws on the technical and gave his team a two-possession game in the fading moments. Canmore fought back to make it a two-point game during the next play, but was forced to foul De Leon and put him back on the line, where he put the game on ice.
For more, please see the August 15 edition of the Rocky Mountain Outlook.