MAKATI CITY – The 14th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament is fast shaping up into a three-team derby as the league leaders continued to pull away from the rest of the pack. Defending champion Centro Escolar University, Saint Clare College of Caloocan and Our Lady of Fatima University continued their march to the top by battering their respective opponents Tuesday (September 2) at the Makati Coliseum.
The CEU Scorpions stretched their winning streak to nine games by repeating over newcomer Diliman Computer Technology Institute, 60-40. Defense was the key as the Scorpions limited the Senators to a lone triple courtesy of Kris Antalan in the opening period for a 19-3.
The Senators almost went exclusively to tossing the ball to center Ibrahim Quattara as the whole team had trouble finding the hole. The Scorpions, despite churning out their lowest output after averaging 85.5 points in their first eight wins, relied on a balanced attack and timely hits to keep their opponents in check.
Joseph Sedurifa uncorked four triples to lead the Scorpions with 14 points, eight made during the fourth period. Samboy de Leon followed with 10 points, eight coming during their first period salvo, plus nine rebounds.
Quattara had his usual double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Senators. Antalan added 13 points.
Saint Clare raced to an 8-0 lead to open hostilities and that was all they needed to hold off the gritty Rizal Technological University Blue Thunder, 76-68. The Saints managed to lead by as high as 15 markers, the last time coming at 41-26 early in the third canto.
The Blue Thunder proved to be a tough customer as they slowly ate into the Saints’ lead. However, the Saints always had a ready answer in Jayson Ibay whose fourth period baskets cooled RTU’s repeated advances.
Ibay tallied 15 points in the fourth period alone to finish with a game-high 22. Marte Gil laid the foundation for the Saints with 15 of his 16 points in the first two periods as they raised their win-loss slate to 8-1, a full game behind the undefeated Scorpions.
Sandy Cenal tried his best to lift RTU with 21 points, nine scored during their final push in the fourth. Glen Pronto chipped in 12 markers.
In the day’s final game, the OLFU Phoenix woke up in time to halt the late surge of the City University of Pasay Eagles, 87-80. Comfortably ahead by 17 after three periods, 66-49, the Phoenix allowed the opposition to claw back with Gio Ramos scoring a basket that put the Eagles at their closest with more than three minutes remaining, 72-75.
JJ Mallari and Joseph Marquez responded by shooting steadily from the free throw stripe as the Eagles resorted to fouling to stop the clock and buy time. Mallari then delivered the knockout blow with a basket that restored their double-digit lead past the two-minute warning, 86-75.
Lervin Flores had a breakout game for the Phoenix with 19 points and seven rebounds, highlighted by a pair of slam dunks. Adrian Gallardo tag teamed up front with Flores to add 18 points for their side’s seventh victory in nine starts.
Ramos, who missed six games earlier in the tournament, led the Eagles with 22 points, spiked with four triples. Eric Sarmiento followed with 14 points.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (76) – Ibay 22, Gil 16, Jamito 14, Ibarra 8, Managuelod 6, Mendoza 3, Acebron 2, Redoh 2, Dulalia 2, Lunor 1.
RIZAL TECH (68) – Cenal 21, Pronto 12, Montecillo 11, de la Pena 5, Tabi 5, Estoce 2, Quiro 2, Justiniani 2, Mayuyo 2, Bangeles 2, Malimban 2, Parina 2, Riva 0, Armin Santos 0.
Period Scores: 19-11, 37-26, 52-46, 76-68.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (60) – Sedurifa 14, de Leon 10, Ebondo 9, Anunciacion 9, Batino 6, Celso 3, Opiso 3, Abundo 3, Jeruta 3, Amil 0, Silverie 0, Casino 0, Vargas 0, Banua 0.
DILIMAN COMPUTER (40) – Quattara 17, Antalan 13, Barranco 4, Aguilon 4, Olea 2, Protacio 0, Tay 0, Nudo 0, Mamba 0, Yaon 0.
Period Scores: 19-3, 31-14, 41-27, 60-40.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (87) – Flores 19, Gallardo 18, Marquez 10, Mallari 10, Jornacion 9, de los Santos 5, Datu 5, Rosales 3, Moraga 3, Cruz 2, Pineda 2, del Rosario 1, Jimenez 0, Cabrera 0, Matignas 0, Villalon 0.
PASAY (80) – Ramos 22, Sarmiento 14, Telpo 9, Penaredondo 8, de Vega 8, Aquino 6, Solero 5, Erice 4, Lizardo 2, Padilla 2, Manansala 0, Cahansa 0.
Period Scores: 26-15, 43-36, 66-49, 87-80.