Monday, February 6, 2012

Basketball finals; more on breadfruit

The 2011 Corregidor Basketball League tournament originally began later than we had hoped due to Typhoon Pedring, which caused the uniforms to be delayed by a week. This proved to be a major setback, since we then had fewer days to get the tournament completed before the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. In mid-December we suspended the league with the semifinals one game from completion. We asked the captains to let us know when they had enough players on-island to compete. The captains never could agree on a resumption date – one team would have at least five available players, but their opponents would not – and the tournament committee finally decided that we would begin again on January 31, no matter what.

At 5:00, Battery Way had only three players and only expected one more at best. We agreed to wait until 5:30, at which time Captain Roy Baludbod agreed to play with only four players. No one expected the game to be competitive given this handicap, but everyone was wrong. The game was close all the way, with Way holding a 17-16 lead after a quarter and leading by as many as five in the second. Battery Geary had six players, so they not only had one more on the court, but could also substitute to give a player time to rest. Baludbod, who finished with 47 points, had another great game, and Kris Atadora Geary’s big man, was unstoppable inside and scored 41 points. Way’s shot to tie the score at the final buzzer was off target, and Geary came away with a 91-89 thriller.

In the second game, the Battery Grubbs Captain, Wilson Jurado, and Jasper Labinghisa each scored 21 points in a 59-54 win over Battery Hearn in another close match. Hearn’s more balanced attack, led by Jon Perez’s 14 points, was just not enough. This set up the best-of-three final match of Grubbs vs. Geary, and the third-place “do-or-die” game between Way and Hearn.

The first championship game was a letdown, with Grubbs captain Jurado missing the game because he was on guard duty. Geary had no trouble in a 91-71 final that was not as close as the score might seem to indicate. Geary was led by captain Jerry Constantino’s 39 points, with Atadora adding 24. Grubbs was led by center Joseph Barrion’s 28.

In Thursday’s first game, Way and Hearn played for third place. Once again, Way only had four players against seven for Hearn. Although Way got off to a fast start, and led by as many as 11, they began to show fatigue late in the first half, and eventually Hearn, with its rested players, was just too much for Way, claiming a 96-88 win. Baludbod led the scoring with 45 for the losing team. Dariel Isla had 24 to lead Hearn in points scored.

The second game, a must-win for regular season champion Grubbs to force a third game, turned out to be another thriller. Geary jumped out to a fast start, but then Grubbs went into a stingy zone defense and started to challenge Constantino and Atadora every time they drove to the basket. Grubbs went up by three, then five, and it started to look like they just wanted the game more. With a couple of minutes to play, Geary fought back and took a one-point lead. Grubbs, led from the bench by their unofficial player-coach, Ed Roxas, fouled every chance they got, continuing to put Geary players on the free throw line. This strategy would have worked since Geary missed most of its free throws, but Grubbs had a hard time making baskets on the other end of the court, thanks to strong defensive by Geary players. There were times when only two seconds went off the clock before the each whistle, and the last 30 seconds seemed to take forever. Geary finally came away with a 58-56 squeaker, totally worthy of a championship game.

The awards ceremony was held after the final game. Hearn was awarded the “Second-Placer” (equivalent to second runner-up) trophy, Grubbs the First-Placer trophy, and Geary the Championship trophy. Five players, one from each team, were name as the “Corregidor Basketball League First Team.” In addition, Atadora was named Rookie of the Year, Constantino the playoffs MVP, and Baludbod the tournament MVP. The trophies were generously donated by Sun Cruises, Inc., which operates the ferry, the Corregidor Inn, and day tours of Corregidor Island.

It was, overall, a great tournament, much enjoyed by players and spectators. We especially want to thank each of you who donated money to make the tournament possible.

Our story about “Big Red” and the jackfruit resulted in a number of responses. Several of our readers thought that jackfruit and breadfruit were synonymous. Others equated it with other fruits such as the rancid-smelling durion. Our friend Philip gave us the scholarly email that follows.

Dear Marcia and Steve,

Your latest newsletter, featuring jackfruits (Artocarpus heterophyllus), reminded me of the closely related breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) that are planted all over Latin America and the Pacific islands, and that bear similar-looking fruit. Although I’ve seen a number of them there in the Philippines, they were especially common at our previous posting, El Salvador. In Central America, they were planted mainly as an ornamental landscape plant; they’re handsome trees with leaves that look vaguely like giant glossy-green oak leaves.

Many people I met in El Salvador were actually unaware that the pineapple-sized breadfruit (smaller than those of jackfruit) are both edible and nutritious. Mostly just as an experiment, I picked a few fruits at their peak of ripeness, sliced them, and sauteed them in butter, and then topped them off with a little honey or syrup – like pancakes.

I suppose it’s not surprising that the surface of the rough-skinned green fruit resembles that of the North American “horse-apple”/Bois-d’Arc/Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera), since “horse-apple” trees also belong to the Mulberry Family/(Moraceae). It almost makes one wonder whether the two could be hybridized to create either a winter-hardy jackfruit or breadfruit, or perhaps an edible “horse-apple.”

By the way, as you be aware, England’s desire to introduce the Polynesian-food-staple breadfruit into cultivation in the Caribbean Basin area was the purpose for the ill-fated voyage of the HMS Bounty. All for now; take care. Philip

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