Updated: Aug 19, 2019
“Thank god we made it.”
There’s 3 seconds left in the game. The score is 63 apiece in the Under-14 Elite Division final between New Era and Vancouver Sports Club. Mikyle Malabuyoc launches a pass inbounds to his teammate Kian Macaraeag. He hits an in-tight fadeaway jumper. New Era takes the lead with just 0.9 seconds remaining. On the bench, the New Era players are jumping up and down, celebrating the epic buzzer beater win. The only thing going through Mikyle Malabuyoc’s head is, “thank god we made it”.
“Oh no, I can’t play anymore,” is what was going through Malabuyoc’s head minutes into the second half. After a hard fall under the basket, Malabuyoc couldn’t feel his leg. There was silence on the court as medical trainers and his team’s coaching staff checked out Malabuyoc’s injury, as he lay on the floor, outstretched in pain. Malabuyoc, however, would stay in the game.
Malabuyoc, like his team, found a way to bounce back.
We were down 9 points with 6 minutes to go,” said New Era Head Coach Benny Lau. “I tell these guys, ‘Don’t give up, there’s lots of time.’ And you know what, they follow through.”
“Intensity,” said Malabuyoc about how his team was able to get back in the game. “We just played way harder and we just got the shots we wanted.”
New Era made the necessary adjustments and were rewarded with a comeback win for the ages in one of the best games during Bballnationals. “It was fun for everyone to watch,” said Lau after the game. “It was close, it was just exciting, you know.”
Malabuyoc, playing through injury, went on to win Most Valuable Player in the championship game.
“He’s a rising star in BC,” said Lau about Malabuyoc. “He takes on any challenges he wants to do. He’s going to have a good future ahead of him.”
After the game, Malabuyoc is in the medical room, getting treatment for his injury for earlier. The injury made the final game all the more difficult but he and his team are used to challenges.
“The semi-finals were a little challenging for us,” said Coach Lau of his teams path to the top at Bballnationals. Even though this year’s tournament was a success for the New Era program, Lau is already looking forward to next year. “It’s been a really good tournament,” he said of this year’s tournament. “Very well organized and I’ll probably be back next year to enter our team in again.”
“I’m sure a lot of teams from across Canada will come and compete in Bballnationals,” said Lau.
“It was a fun tournament,” said Malabuyoc of his first ever Bballnationals. Even though he was getting treatment minutes ago he’s feeling great he says.After a jam-packed last four days, an MVP award and championship trophy, Malabuyoc shouldn’t be feeling anything else.
Having played in a Junior NBA tournament earlier this summer, Malabuyoc’s coach is right about him, he does indeed have a bright future ahead of him. For right now, Mikyle Malabuyoc’s future is going to someone’s house to have a barbeque.
A well-deserved celebration for the MVP.
By: Mohak Sood