Long 60 years have passed since one of the most sensational victories in the history of our basketball. No one has remembered it because we are involved in the maelstrom of football and few journalists know or remember brilliant events from our sporting past. This occurs due to a lack of interest in research, or because for many the only thing that matters is the present, sublimated to the point of exaggeration by interests that are often alien to the essence of sport properly understood.
Guayaquil basketball started in 1924 when the Guayas Sports Federation was chaired by the most brilliant Ecuadorian leader of all time: Manuel Seminario Sáenz de Tejada. It was he who promoted the creation of subcommittees for each sport, including basketball. He appointed Carlos Noboa Cooke as deputy commissioner and he excited a group that had – like him – returned from the United States, the country in which this sports branch was born. There was no regulation field, but they began to practice in one of the outdoor patios of the University House. At the end of 1924, the novice players managed to get La Iberia Tannery, in the Astillero neighborhood, to build a court and in December of that year two teams played whose basketball players included Noboa Cooke, Luis and Emilio Valdez, Guillermo Gallardo Córdova, Pedro Pablo Baquerizo, Clodoveo Alcívar, Gonzalo Freire, Fernando López Lara, Atahualpa Chávez González, Aurelio Carrera, Pedro Ampuero and Nicolás Parducci.
It is a long story that, with precise data and photos, I delivered one day to Omar Quintana, with whom we proposed to make a narrative book of the Buenos Aires basketball march, an undertaking that we could not finish due to the unforeseen death of our friend Omar.
The gentlemen I have quoted took the first steps. Basketball was enlarged with the arrival of George Capwell and the incorporation of Emelec, Vanguardia Deportiva, Liga Deportiva Universitario and Oriente. In 1935 there was a great event: the first international victory of Ecuadorian basketball when Oriente defeated the Peruvian quintet Flecha, who came undefeated from Chile and Argentina and was champion of his country. It was a memorable night in which the Chilean player Teófilo Constantino, who was studying at the University of Guayaquil, shone; louis philip Duck Cevallos, Francis Chicken Macías Burnham, Leopoldo Grunauer, and the Vincentian student Adolfo Jurado González. In the last game of the tour, the Peruvians fell to Vanguardia, the quintet of the Employees Association.
Our basketball grew and the crowds at the Huancavilca Coliseum –inaugurated on August 27, 1934– increased. In 1938 we attended the first South American in Lima, with the consecration of Juvenal Sáenz Gil –also a Vincentian student– who became the third best scorer in the tournament. In 1945 the Huancavilca was the scene of a South American, first in history in our city, which marked the birth of what I consider the best generation of basketball players that our country has produced. That pleiad was made up of Justo Cuto Morán, Alfonso Quiñónez, Herminio García, Pablo Sandiford, Gabriel Crazy Pena, Raul Baby Guerrero, Fortunato Muñoz, Alfredo Arroyave, Pepe Díaz Granados, Gonzalo Aparicio (he was called in the South American in Rio de Janeiro in 1947 the basketball doctorSamuel Cisneros, Carlos Ruiz, Victor Andrade and Miguel Cuchivive Castle. I was a regular assistant to Huancavilca since I was a child. He took my brother Andrés and my father, José Andrés Vasconcellos, to the coliseum. You had to leave home early on Tuesday and Thursday nights and stand in line to buy tickets to enter the coliseum with cane walls, wooden bleachers and cement boxes. Exciting classics were played between LDE, Emelec, Athletic, Ferroviarios and Oriente. We became LDE fans to stimulate our neighbor with shouts and applause Cuchivivea much-loved character whom I lost track of many years ago.
Guayas was unbeatable champion and was for more than 40 years. The intercollegiate disappeared were exciting shows with the duels of Vicente Rocafuerte, Gómez Rendón Academy, San José and Cristóbal Colón. Around 1958 Pepe Carbo, a brilliant player from Vicente Rocafuerte and from Emelec, and director of Sports at Vicente Rocafuerte, and the unforgettable Juan Born Zerega, head of the Lasallians, decided to join forces to strengthen the LDE and the great era of Las Tres Letras de Oro began. In 1960, Carlos Valle, Pablo Cabanilla, Rafael Pellet Mejía, Eduardo Alarcón, who arrived from Rocafuerte; next to George Flat Mejia, Juan Sala, Shyler Nieto, Luis Cholula Landívar and other players. Then Abel Jiménez joined and with them LDE won the first four-time championship in the annals of this sport in Guayaquil.
60 years ago came a powerful American quintet: Chicago Denver Truckers, full of stars. He measured in his debut at Athletic Club, on May 6, 1962. EL UNIVERSO said: “Chicago Denver Truckers amazed in their debut against Athletic, whom they defeated convincingly 95-67, score that left a taste of top-of-the-line basketball; of athletes who were issued with a unique solvency on the field of play”. Among the Creoles, Nicolás Lapentti shone, scoring 25 points. It was announced that the next rival would be the four-time provincial champion Liga Deportiva Universitario.
Our newspaper commented: “The fans hope that LDE, the quintet that has been setting the pace -of the best that our basketball has had in recent years- and that by tradition has been the best basketball team, since it is the only that has remained in the foreground at all times, having many times represented Ecuador with all its members, show this time that the confidence of the fans and critics is based on the quality of their men”.
On May 8, the long-awaited clash took place that filled the entire city with emotion, as a triumph was obtained that has remained in the memory of those of us who had the joy of witnessing it. The next day EL UNIVERSO headlined his first sports page: ‘Among the cheers of the fans LDE beat the Truckers 75-72′. The note said: “The LDE jersey, white with blue edges, was soaked with sweat and blood, but triumphant after 40 minutes of hard fighting, in which a group of Creoles, stuck in it, gave an account of the famous Chicago Denver before the look, astonished first, the enthusiastic applause and the vibrate in infernal screaming in the stands when they captured the moment of victory that consecrated a team above prejudices and complexes”.
Pancho Rodríguez, the only League reinforcement; Valley, unbeatable captain; Y the Chato Mejía were the stars of the night. Mejía, playmaker, with his 1.76 meters, destroyed the giant opponents with lightning tackles to the hoop that, in the end, provoked admiration. One night that is there, marked by fire in the memory elegolé. (EITHER)
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Student Sports League basketball and an epic victory in 1962 | Columnists | Sports