MANILA, JUNE 1, 2006 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Air21 rookie forward Nińo Canaleta stole a play from a teammate and buried a three-pointer in the closing seconds to personally close the quarterfinals door on Sta. Lucia Realty last night in the Gran Matador Brandy PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Canaleta’s trey proved to be a lethal blow on Sta. Lucia, enabling the Express to complete a come-from-behind 110-107 victory that booted the Realtors out of contention for the fourth and last quarterfinals slot being disputed in the wildcard round.

The Express overcame a five-point deficit in the last two minutes and came through with the stirring win that boosted their bid for the right to challenge the Red Bull squad in the quarterfinals.

Ranidel de Ocampo fashioned out a huge double-double performance with 27 points and 12 rebounds but Canaleta turned to be the biggest hero in the end for the three-pointer he made while deviating from a play devised by coach Bo Perasol for Yancy de Ocampo.

"When KG (Canaleta) has the ball, he really makes things happen. Like tonight, he took that three-point shot when our play was for Yancy to make a quick two. Luckily, KG made the shot and he bailed all of us out of trouble," said Perasol.

The 6-foot-3 forward out of University of the East pumped in the trey on a step-back jumper off the outstretched arms of Bitoy Omolon coming off a timeout with the Express down by two, 104-106, with 49.5 seconds left to play.

After Dennis Espino and Canaleta committed an error each, Leo Avenido grabbed a big offensive rebound and nailed a charity giving Air21 a 108-106 lead with time down to 9.8 seconds.

Battling rare Kawasaki disease SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson The Philippine Star 06/01/2006

I visited Purefoods basketball team assistant coach Dayong Mendoza’s nine-year-old son Mayo at the Makati Medical Center the other day and my heart sank.

There was Dayong’s oldest child lying in bed, being treated for a rare ailment called the Kawasaki disease, and the sad fact is there is little known about what causes it despite decades of investigation.

Dayong’s consolation is Mayo’s doctors are competent, caring and absolutely dedicated. They’re among the best in their fields of expertise—pediatrician Dr. Liaa Cojuangco-Bautista (Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr.’s daughter), pediatric cardiologist Dr. Baby Leus and pediatric disease specialist Dr. Dennis Garcia.

Mayo has been confined in the hospital for over a week with symptoms of the Kawasaki disease, an illness caused by an infectious agent or virus. If treated within 10 days of affliction, victims of this disease are able to fully recover. If not, the disease could lead to serious damage of the blood vessels in the heart.

Dr. Tomasaku Kawasaki was the first to recognize the disease in Japan in 1967. Children less than five years old and of Asian descent are common victims.

The symptoms of affliction are a lingering fever, rashes, swollen hands and feet, irritation or redness of the whites of the eyes, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and irritation and inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat. Mayo exhibited only three of the symptoms but when his fever wouldn’t go away on the eighth day, doctors decided to prescribe treatment for the Kawasaki disease. Nobody could be sure if Mayo had the disease but without a definite diagnosis, doctors preferred to play it safe. The prudent thing to do was to assure Mayo was afflicted and provide the appropriate treatment.

Dayong said 1,000 cc of the wonder drug called gamma globulin was infused into Mayo’s blood stream over a period of 20 hours. A dosage of 1,000 cc costs P155,000. * * * Mayo’s grandfather and sports columnist Al Mendoza said an echocardiogram is scheduled today to check if his heart has been affected. Doctors are subjecting Mayo to an echocardiogram twice every week for a month just to be sure everything is in order.

As of yesterday, Mayo’s medical bill had ballooned to about P400,000 and each echocardiogram session has a price tag of P5,000.

Al said he’s using his life savings to pay the bills with Dayong. The problem is what’s been saved may not be enough.

Mayo is the oldest of Al’s and Sol’s four grandchildren. He’s a basketball buff and an honor student at Claret. Mayo was accelerated from kindergarten to Grade 1, without passing prep, because of his superior IQ. He represented Claret in a quiz bee contest last year.

Only a month ago, Mayo was confined for three days at the Asian Hospital after suffering a freak accident. He was horsing around with younger brother Migel when his neck was severely strained, causing extensive swelling. Mayo underwent 15 days of therapy to snap his neck back in place. Luckily, there was no permanent damage because of the malleability of children’s bones.

Dayong, 34, played basketball for the University of the Philippines with Ryan Gregorio under coach Joe Lipa and has made coaching a career. He was an apprentice in the National Basketball League of Australia and has coached in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) and later the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) since 2000. Dayong proudly pointed out that his PBL teams never finished lower than second and his PBA teams never lower than fourth.

Dayong and wife Magirl Royeca of General Santos City are parents of three—Mayo, Dada, 7, and Migel, 5. Dayong and Malaya are the only children of Al and Sol. Malaya has a 10-month-old daughter Mayasoh. * * * Aside from his Purefoods chores, Dayong is head coach of the Adamson high school varsity with Vis Valencia as his assistant. Valencia came from St. Vincent whose products include the Cabatu brothers Jun-Jun and Christian. Rensy Bajar was Dayong’s assistant before the former San Beda guard was signed up by Alaska.

"Our high school team has 11 rookies," said Dayong. "At the Fr. Martin’s Cup, we lost all our six games. But now, we’re coming around. We’re 3-1 in the Private Schools Basketball League and we just beat St. Jude by 70 points. The guys were inspired against St. Jude and played for Mayo who’s their biggest fan. They even came to visit Mayo in the hospital and gave him an orange each. One of our team B players is E. J. Feihl’s nephew who’s 13 and about 6-1."

Dayong has high hopes for Mayo’s future. Next schoolyear, Mayo’s enrolling at FEU Fern whose sprawling campus off Commonwealth Avenue is home to the Tamaraws’ high school players. Mayo isn’t just a superior student but also a huge sports fan.

The other day, Mayo visited stricken Purefoods player Eugene Tejada—a floor above at the hospital—in a wheelchair.

At the moment, all Dayong is hoping for is Mayo’s complete recovery from whatever ails him. The good news is the fever is almost gone. And the battery of tests shows no damage to his organs, meaning if he was afflicted by the Kawasaki disease, the treatment came in time and worked.

Dayong said he wants parents to be aware of the dangers of the Kawasaki disease on children and will share what he knows about it by contributing blogs to the website. Al and Sol are praying that Mayo will walk away from this experience fully recovered. Let’s join them in their prayers.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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