MANILA – After five years, La Consolacion College-Manila is back as champions after capturing the 10th Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association (ISAA) Seniors Basketball trophy via a hard-fought 75-69 decision over defending champion PATTS College of Aeronautics in Game Three of their best of three series Monday at the LCCM Gym. The Blue Royals did not disappoint as they churned out a balanced offense and pesky defense to end the Seahorses’ three-year reign and recapture the title they first won in 2013.
For a moment, the Blue Royals built their biggest lead early in third, 44-33, and were on cruise control. That all changed when Mark Jayson Morada and Aldrich Lopez starred in the Seahorses blistering fight back that saw Lopez tie the game at 59-59 at the 5:36 mark of the fourth period.
La Consolacion responded with a 11-0 run highlighted by triples from Paul Harley Dagunan and Thurlough Grealy for valuable breathing space with three minutes to play. Still, PATTS refused to fold and Norman Torreno took over by scoring the game’s next 10 points to put then within striking distance with 1:15 to play, 69-70.
Both sides then swapped botched plays as the Seahorses could not convert even on point-blank stabs. Grealy was sent to the free throw on the fifth and last foul of Lopez and split his two shots to give PATTS some hope with 16 ticks to go and Jesse Bardaje managed to intercept the inbound pass coming off a PATTS timeout for a soaring layup, 73-69.
Taking advantage of the confusion, the Blue Royals forced another turnover with Nino Tamayo scooting down for another layup and the final score. “What you saw in the last minute was the result of all the hard work we put in since last April,” said champion coach Segundo “Bong” de la Cruz. “The character of the team came out and it was all about our defense, it’s doubly challenging when you have to build a team from scratch with all our newcomers this season.”
Six of the nine players fielded by Coach de la Cruz scored eight or more points with Dagunan leading the assault with 14 and the Most Valuable Player of the Finals award. Tamayo and Bardaje were next with 13 each.
PATTS’ offense was concentrated on Torreno who led all scorers with 27 points and Morada with 22. Lopez was next with only seven points as he lapsed into early foul trouble.
Grealy was chosen as the season MVP and was joined in the Mythical Five by teammate TJ Carino, Leonard Mengoy and Lopez of PATTS and Gabrielle Aguas of Trinity University of Asia. With his fifth and final season done, the 6’2” 23-year old Grealy is setting his sights on the PBA D-League and hopefully follow the path of fellow Puerto Galera native Rico Maierhofer into the PBA.
How They Scored:
LA CONSOLACION (75) – Dagunan 14, Tamayo 13, Bardaje 13, Grealy 12, Carino 8, Latoreno 8, Navarette 4, Talag 3, Lopez 0.
P A T T S (69) – Torreno 27, Morada 22, Lopez 7, Bautista 6, Po 4, Mengoy 2, Reed 1, Palencia 0, Saliddin 0, JG Reyes 0.
Period Scores: 16-13, 36-30, 53-49, 75-69.