Cebu was looking for a different ending. But so was Laguna.
Smarting from an earlier setback suffered at the hands of Laguna, Cebu put up a valiant stand for all of two quarters before reeling back against a superior opponent.
Gio Calacalsada unloaded 23 points and Most Valuable Player Frederick Tungcab added 15 as Laguna completed a dominant sweep of the tournament, wearing down Cebu in the final game, 65-52, Friday and capturing the 2013 Coca-Cola-PBA Youngstars National Championship at the Blue Eagle gym.
Far from the rout that marked their elimination round encounter where Laguna blasted Cebu, 72-41, in a battle of undefeated leaders, the championship proved to be a thriller until Laguna decided it has had enough.
From there, it was only a matter of time before Cebu folded. But the air of upset was heavy while it lasted.
Throwing caution to the wind, Cebu took off, 14-11, in the first quarter and was still ahead, 27-23, at the half. But as it turned out, all it did was rouse up Laguna which returned to the court with burning resolve to avert a disaster.
It was the second straight final appearance for Cebu, which bowed to Taytay last year.
Ex-pro Gherome Ejercito represented Laguna Gov. E.R. Ejercito during the awarding ceremony graced by PBA Commissioner Chito Salud and Atty. Adel Tamano, Coca-Cola Philippines vice president for public affairs and communications.
Calacalsada and Tungcab were later named to the Mythical Team along with Glenn Gallardo of Cagayan de Oro, Jun Keng Manzo III of Cebu and Desmond Santos of KABAKA-Manila.
“We are extremely gratified with the outcome and the conduct of this year’s Coca-Cola PBA Youngstars summer league. The PBA’s partnership with coke remains strong and vibrant as ever as we look forward to next year’s tournament. The 13- 16 year old bracket is abundant with talent, not just in Metro Manila but more particularly in our provinces where basketball is admittedly the number one summer past time. This is the age range specifically targeted by both Coca-Cola and the PBA in promoting the values of living an active and healthy lifestyle, aside from instilling the virtues of hard work, discipline, abiding by the rules, and fair play” said PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.
“We strongly believe that these foregoing virtues and values will serve our youth not just in sports but in whatever field they may choose in the future. Coke and the PBA will continue our partnership for this clear purpose: to help in the values-formation of our youth and consequently contribute to the task of nation-building,” added Chito Salud.
LAGUNA 65 – Calacalsada 23, Tungcab 15, Abuhijleh 9, Moleta 8, Canlas, Sese 3 , Natividad 1, Aquino 0, Carreon 0, Estacio 0, Ocampo 0, Salisi 0.
CEBU 52 – Flores 18, Wamar 18, King 7, Manzo 4, Gonzaga 3, Maglasang 2, Balbosa 0, Baring 0, Morre 0, Oche 0, Silorio 0, Zenarosa 0.
Quarters: 11-14; 23-27; 45-39; 65-52