Flashback to MMTLBA history (part 2)
By Henry Liao May 27,2020 - 11:58 AM
With powerhouse Xavier School, an all-boys secondary school from San Juan City (far from the maddening crowd in schools within the vicinity of Chinatown) on a prolonged sabbatical (1977-92), a great rivalry between Uno High School and Chiang Kai Shek College emerged in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) Boys Juniors competitions during the mid-1980s.
For an unprecedented five-year period, from 1984-85 to 1988-89, the two schools faced each other in the finals.
CKSC snared the title on three occasions, with the Blue Dragons winning all the marbles in 1985, 1987 and 1988 – all under former University of the Philippines and Philippine Basketball Association veteran Sunny Co, who along with the late Lim Eng Beng, suited up for CKSC in its 1969 and 1970 championship finishes during the formative years of the MMTLBA when it was still called by another name.
Uno, on the other hand, topped the 1986 tournament behind former national team coach Joe Lipa and the 1989 edition that halted the CKSC’s two-year reign under mentor Milton Yu, one of the descendants of the Yu clan that owned Uno High School.
Among the players for CKSC at the time were Lincoln Lim, Lorenzo Yap, Andrew Co, Alex Co and Percival Lim.
For the Uneans (now monikered the Blue Pandas), hogging the limelight were Roger Chua and Chan Chung Ming from the 1985 squad; Henry Sy, Jonathan Uy, Eugene Tsai, Albert Chan and Alvin Co from the 1986 championship unit; and Uy, Chan, Michael Cabisudo, Roy Aceja (1987), Arsenio Dysangco (1988) and Paul Du, a former UP Maroon who suited up for the national colors during the 1990 Southeast Asian Games, from the runner-up 1987 and 1988 squads.
In 1989, in his third straight season as Uno bench strategist, Yu broke through with a championship team built around players such as the now-famous tactician Goldwin Monteverde, Du, Richard Co, Charlie Sim, Larry Sia, Dysangco, and Allan Chan (a lockdown defender who made life hard for CKSC meal ticket Percival Lim)
It was sweet revenge for Uno as CKSC owned a twice-to-beat advantage. The Blue Dragons, however, fell for the upset ax, dropping two straight games in a nerve-wracking finals by no more than four points each time, including the decisive rubber match by a solitary point.
There were no bad feelings between coaches Sunny Co and Milton Yu during the glorious era for years later, Co became one of the godfathers during Yu’s wedding.
Teams came and went during the 43-year existence of the MMTLBA, but only Chiang Kai Shek College and Uno High School were able to sustain their rivalry for an unprecedented five consecutive trips to the finals during the 1980s.
For good measure, any record from the MMTLBA history that was worth reminiscing as well was Uno’s winning the Best Cheerleading Team for 17 consecutive years from 1969-70 to 1987-88.
Overall, the school owned the distinction for 30 of the 43 years of Tiong Lian’s existence.
It was one shining moment for the Uno cheerleading squads through the years.
Truly, it was a record that was not meant to be broken.
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