Starting the year with a bang: AstraZeneca opens 2019 with an out-of-town sportsfest in Splendido, Tagaytay


By John Mark Herrera - Published January 26, 2019

It was a day to remember for AstraZeneca, as they capped its annual Business Conference with a destination sportsfest, at the Splendido Country Club, a breakthrough that was 6 months in the making, and elevating the overall player experience from its 2017 edition.

The one-day sports festivites covered four different sports, namely Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton, and Bowling. Four teams were represented in each sport, with Symbicort parading the fighting-red color, Brillinta dazzled with the orange shade, Xigduo brought out the true-blue spirit, while Tagrisso rose with the mean-green havoc for this year's sports fest.

The Basketball tournament kicked-off with a Brillinta-Xigduo clash to opwn the unique elimination round format for this tournament. Teams will play all three opponents in a classic single-round robin, with each game lasting only for twenty-minutes (10minutes per half). The men in in the Utah Jazz-inspired orange threads booked their first victory with a thrilling 28-27 win against Xigduo. Not to be outdone, Symbicort opened their campaign with a victory, after cruising past Tagrisso, 29-19. The red shirts then followed the victory up with another one, as they sent Xigduo skidding, 33-26 to end the first half of the tournament on a winning note.

Brillinta notched their second straight victory at the expense of Tagrisso, 18-15, to officially clinch a finals berth against fellow undefeated team, Symbicort.

While the men's basketball tournament reached its pinnacle, the Volleyball action was simultaneously played in the outdoors. The opening game for this tourney was quickly painted red, after a fiery start from Symbicort in their 21-15 win against Tagrisso. Like the Basketball elimination round, a unique single-set format (no deuce) was also set for the Volleyball elims, for this one-day tournament.

Xigduo started their campaign with a down-the-wire win against Brillinta, 21-20. After the thrilling victory, Xigduo played back-to-back as they challenged Symbicort, in a game which will catapult an early leader in the team standings. Symbicort grinded a 21-20 win in this one, to claim the top spot and set one foot in the finals stage.

Tagrisso added to Brillinta's skid, cruising with a 21-11, but dropped their next outing against the resilient Xigduo, who clinched a finals berth with a close, 21-19 win. Brillinta salvaged a 21-14 victory against Symbicort, to end the elimination on a bright note.

As the competition among the four groups rise, the Badminton tournament had nothing short of the intensity that the first two sports has, as the mixed-doubles elimination kicked-off across the two courts also, inside the Splendido Country Club Sports Facility. The four colors battled it out in a classic sing-round format, where all the teams played fun and competitively; smashing their way each game with pride. Tagrisso and Xigduo met in the finals after a grueling road to the title-match. Tagrisso made quick work of their foe to claim the Badminton title for the green team.

Meanwhile, the Bowling tournament as Brilinta rolled to the title led by their ace player, Louie Banola as they paint the lanes orange, all the way. The champions eased past every lane and cruised to a triumphant end in this campaign. Runner-up Tagrisso settled for the finalist finish for this year's tourney.

Back in the hardcourt, the stage was set for the Volleyball tournament's battle-for-third and the finals. Tagrisso and Brillinta clashed for a podium finish. The orange side routed their way to the second runner-up trophy, 25-8. Then, the winner-takes-all finals between Xigduo and Symbicort. The top teams battled it out and went the distance, as this back and forth match up had to be decided in the third and final set. After losing the first set, Xigduo recovered from a set down, to cruising their way in a thrilling second set, 25-22 and edging Symbicort in the deciding third set, 16-14, to win the Volleyball crown off of a resurgent effort which completed the amazing comeback.

And finally, the Basketball tournament was down to its last two games, first up is the battle-for-third game. Tagrisso and Xigduo took the hardcourt in a clash for the second runner-up trophy. Tagrisso dominated from the get-go and got their groove going in the crucial third quarter. Xigduo had tired legs, which enabled the mean-green ballers to take advantage and never look back. Tagrisso closed out the game with a 41-30 victory.

The main event of the day featured the top teams of the Basketball tournament. Symbicort and Brilinta had their eyes on the championship as they played for all the marbles. Symbicort ride their hot start to claim a 13-6 first quarter advantage. The trio of Fadi Banayo, Diomar Medina, and Mark Jamias, powered Symbicort to a 31-16 halftime lead. But Brillinta fought their way back behind Ryan Cajoles and Louie De Leon. The orange shirts outscored the red team for the first time in the game, 18-14 in third quarter, to bring the lead down to a single-digit deficit, heading into the payoff period.

Just when Brillinta was building momentum, Symbicort stayed composed and kept the opposition at bay, crossing the midway part of the fourth quarter. Brilinta los fuel in the final minutes of the game, enabling the red shirts to put the finishing touches to their championship run. Fadi Manuel Banayo finished the game with 18 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and four assists. Diomar Medina, who had already perfected his signature "Swaggy Layup", had 17 markers on top of five assists, while Mark Jamias delivered a near triple-double of16 points, seven boards, and eight assists. Notable performances from the runner-ups, was led by Ryan Cajoles' 24 points and eight boards. Symbicort wins the title with a 63-53 final score, delivering a championship for their troop and closing out a fantastic day for the AstraZeneca Sports Fest 2019.

To officially close the event, the individual and team awardees were presented by the Sports Fest Committee led by Mr. Adrian Tiozon and Ms. Joy Villanueva. The tournament champions were awarded; first for the winning team in Bowling, team Brillinta- ledd by the tournament MVP Mr. Louie Banola. Next, the runner-up for Badminton was awarded to Xigduo, while the championship was presented to team Tagrisso- led by the tournament MVP, Mr. Jeffrey Chua. The Volleyball champions Xigduo, led by tournament MVP, Mr. Malvin Magdagal claimed their trophies, along with runner-up winners, team Brillinta.

The mythical selections from the four participating teams in the Basketball tournament were named, led by tournament MVP, Mr. Fadi Manuel Banayo. Brillinta's pride, Ryan Cajoles and Russel Arandia. Jay Hernandez of Xigduo and Ian Dexter Chang of Tagrisso completed the five-man awardee for this year's tournament.

Thanks to the competititve spirit from all the players and the overwhelming support of the company as a whole, the one-day event proved to be a success. An event that surely strengthened the bond of every participant to one another.