Thrive for the winning drive: A new season opens for the Toyota Financial Services Basketball League

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By John Mark Herrera - Published November 2017

24 Teams banner the 2017 TFS Basketball League, opening its new season with a star-studded program and a jam-packed Upper Deck Sports Center in Ortigas, Pasig City.


The lovely, Ms. Apple David hosting the opening ceremonies.

Apple David headlined the familiar faces that were present in the opening ceremonies. PBA players- Rodney Brondial, Emman Monfort, Jerwin Gaco, together with Ex-pros turned coach, Nic Belasco and Ali Peek were among the head-turners in the venue.


The row of star-studded guests, gathered at the Upper Deck East.

A day that was filled with excitement, lived up to its hype as the games began with four much anticipated match-ups.

 In the first game, Paul Ablola's late game heroics towed Toyota Makati over Toyota Shaw, in a thriller at The Upper Deck West, 63-60. Ablola led the Makati-based squad with 25 points and 13 huge boards, one of them came in the dying seconds, where he grabbed an offensive board off of Ehmil Buñag's miss from the foul-line with under 10 seconds to go in the final period. The crucial board eventually lead to Buñag sinking two from the line to seal the victory.

Toyota Makati's opening day hero, about to take a shot from the charity stripe.

"Hirap na kami eh, pero naka recover kami, nag usap kami sa loob at naging maganda yung resulta." Paul's thoughts on the win. An inspired second half of play, boosted their confidence and played a big role in their successful comeback. "Very inspiring, kasi kami yung unang nakapanalo, so yung momentum namin at yung confidence madadala namin sa next game." he continued.
 

Toyota Makati's post-game huddle after the win.

Toyota Makati capped off a huge 27-17 scoring outburst in the payoff period, with clutch buckets and locked down defense. As a team, they shot an efficient 48% from inside the arc and converted on majority of Shaw's turnovers, especially in the second half.
 

Toyota Shaw's team captain, Je Lacson, about to take a freethrow.

Aside from Ablola, Jhayvee Espina also caught fire in the fourth, scoring half of his total output in the crucial moments. The bigman finished with 20 points and 11 boards.

Ian Delos Santos led the way for Toyota Shaw with 18 markers, Russel Caldas had 13, while Benito Saavedra finished with 10 in their season opener.


Toyota Makati's man in the middle, Jhayvee Espina, tallied a double-double performance in his team's win.
 
In the second game of Upper Deck West's Sunday double-headder, Toyota Alabang opened their campaign in dominating fashion with rout of the Bulacan-based, Toyota Plaridel. The Alabang-based Toyota cagers wasted no time in making their presence felt, after blazing past their foe, 89-61.

JC Endique topped all scorers with 27 points, while Julius Sitjar dropped a double-double performance in their season opener. The unflappable guard scored in all four quarters and spearheaded the offense for his squad, all game long.

Endique's fearless, strong drive to the basket against a pesky Plaridel defender.

Turning heads with his scoring prowess and making the game look easy in his debut game with Toyota Alabang, JC Endique earned the player of the game nod in their dominating win against Toyota Plaridel.

Toyota Alabang ended the first two quarters with an 11-point lead, and never looked back, as they cruised to dominate the rest of the way.


The triumphant Toyota Alabang team with high-fives all around, as their team was up by a mile during the late stages of the game.
 
As a team, they owned three categories in the impressive win; finishing the game with 49 rebounds, 16 assists, and 19 steals.
 
The Bulacan-based squad found good rhythm to start the game, but failed to sustain momentum, as they struggled to solve Alabang's full court pressure defense. The opposing team held them to just an average of 16 points per quarter. Adrian Agulto led the way for Plaridel with 15 points, while team captain Edmund Quinto added 12 in their season opener. 
 

Toyota Plaridel's team captain, Edmund Quinto, driving strong in a fast break play.
 
Opening games from the east side of the Upper Deck were nothing short of spectacular, as four teams slug it out, with the mindset of starting their campaign on a bright note.
 
The Christian Herrera-led Toyota Balintawak, who flexed their muscle in dismantling TMR, 101-55. A 23-point halftime lead, catapulted Toyota Balintawak entering the second half, as they capitalized on several turnovers committed by the opposing team.

 


Toyota Balintawak's Mr. Do-it-all, Christian Herrera.

In his season debut, Christian Herrera sparked TBK’s big win over TMR by contributing huge numbers from both ends of the court. Herrera registered 12 points and made the most impact from the rebounds department with a whopping total of 15 boards, leading his team to win  number one.
 
TBK began the final period by opening up a 73-41 lead, followed up by deluging TMR 28-15 in the final canto, cruising to the wire-to-wire victory.


The Toyota Balintawak squad were all smiles after winning their first game of the season.
 
In the second game of the East's twin-thrillers, Toyota Financial Services pulled away with an 81-61 win over TGCI. 

A second half detonation from “Dynamite” Dave Sanchez, caused havoc on the opposing team by scoring on consecutive buckets, giving TFS a 57-44 lead at the end of three quarters. 

With a game face on, Dave goes for a bulldozing drive to the hole in transition.

The former JRU Heavy Bombers-captain, scored 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Having displayed his full arsenal and explosive talent in his team's opening win against a tough TGCI squad.

The outcome of a cataclysmic run, pushed TFS to secure a 20 point win. The duo of Nash De Lemos and Franco Lim both had eight points; joining the list of key contributions for their team.

Four games done, a ton of exciting games to go, as the 20 other teams start their campaign in the coming weekends.

Spearheaded by League Chairman Mr. Franco Lim, Metro Manila Sales Head, this 24-team format will feature three brackets with eight teams each, and will play seven elimination games against all the teams in their bracket. 

The unique knockout playoff stages will see the top four teams of the brackets, move forward to the round-of-12, that will give berth to six teams that will rack up, until their are three teams remaining. The Round-of-3, will then battle it out in a single round-robin, wherein two protagonists will go at it in a winner-take-all knockout finals, for the TFS Basketball League title.

Games will be held at The Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig City, during Saturdays 6:00pm-10:00pm and Sundays 1:00pm-7:30pm.

 

For complete schedule: http://kingsofthecourt.ph/tfs/scores-and-schedules

For game photos and recaps: https://www.facebook.com/TFSBasketballLeague/