MUCH like he has in his long and decorated basketball career, Cebuano basketball great Dondon Hontiveros was thrust into the fire and delivered, as he helped steer the University of Cebu Junior Webmasters to its first Cesafi juniors title in the last 10 years late last month.
Ranged against a powerhouse University of the Visayas Baby Lancers squad, Hontiveros’ squad, which featured his son, Ice Blanco, came through with a scintillating performance in Game Two to sweep the erstwhile champions.
Hontiveros, who acted as team consultant for the high school team of his alma mater, said he was just happy to see the young players experience that kind of pressure and emerge from the battle, smelling like roses.
“To be honest, I was more excited for the players, for them to be able to experience and handle those kinds of situations. And as a coach, all you want to see is the kids respond and play through pressure,” said the 41-year-old retired cager who is running for the position of councilor in the south district of Cebu City.
The title victory was made even more special by the fact that he and his son worked together to achieve it.
“It was fulfilling. At first, the idea was for Ice to have exposure to this kind of competition and when I saw that he was able to blend during the offseason, then we talked about winning the championship. The hard work paid off. That includes all the scoldings,” shared Hontiveros with a laugh.
The experience was so fulfilling that Hontiveros and his son are considering just playing his high school years here in the Cesafi.
“I would love for him to have the chance to defend the crown and play more leagues like the City Olympics and the National Championships and hopefully, the Palarong Pambansa but we'll see,” he shared.