TANAUAN CITY – The Saint Clare College of Caloocan Saints continued its march to the top by clobbering the Lyceum of Subic Bay Sharks, 74-59, at the start of the Luzon-Metro Manila playoffs of the 2014 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) Friday (November 7) at the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities Gym. The Saints will next play the Diliman College Blue Dragons, winners over the Naga College Foundation Tigers in the other game, 65-54.
Jayson Ibay set the tone early by pumping eight points including two triples that gave the Saints a 14-4 lead which they never relinquished. The reserves then maintained the onslaught with Earvin Mendoza leading the way with seven markers.
The Sharks managed to threaten briefly, 23-27, but this was quickly neutralized by a 10-0 led by Jonathan Ibarra, 37-23. A desperation triple at the buzzer by Shark Allen Fomera settled the halftime count, 26-37.
Employing tenacious defense that led to easy scores, the Saints then turned to Jam Jamito and Marte Gil to slowly lower the boom on the Sharks. The Saints successfully maintained their twin-digit lead through timely hits by Ibarra and Jan Acebron.
Ibay and Jamito topped the Saints of Coach Jino Manansala with 14 points each, with Jamito hauling 14 rebounds. Ibarra chipped in 10 points.
Jhan Timpog and Kevin Pelaez were the lone bright spots for the Sharks of Coach Kerwin McCoy with 20 and 10 points respectively. Lyceum of Subic Bay used to compete with Saint Clare in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) but has since opted to play closer to home at the United Central Luzon Athletic Association (UCLAA) where they have held the championship since 2008.
The Blue Dragons almost ran away with the easy victory as they built a 23-point lead via 10 unanswered points to start the third canto, 46-23. However, the Tigers roared back with a 17-2 blitz powered by Fredson Hermonio to close in by eight by the period’s end, 40-48.
Diliman coach Rensy Bajar then returned Ibrahim Quattara to the contest and his presence allowed the Blue Dragons to stretch their advantage, 56-44. The rally really took a lot out of the Tigers as guards Ivan Barranco and MacArthur Enriquez hit key baskets to give the Blue Dragons an unassailable 62-48 margin entering the final two minutes.
Quattara had another monster game with 21 points and 17 rebounds. He drew a lot of help from Enriquez with 19 and Harley Diego with 16 markers.
Hermonio and Ronn Romana paced the Tigers with 14 points each. Christopher Okpe had only eight points as he was clearly dominated by Quattara.
Reigning back-to-back NAASCU champion Centro Escolar University Scorpions will begin their title quest tomorrow when they play the dangerous University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta Altas. The winner will then proceed to tangle with either the Saints or Blue Dragons on Sunday (November 9).
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (74) – Ibay 14, Jamito 14, Ibarra 10, Mendoza 9, Gil 7, Acebron 7, Redoh 6, Managuelod 6, Dulalia 1, Lunor 0, Ambulodto 0.
LYCEUM-SUBIC (59) – Timpog 20, Pelaez 10, Carey 6, Castillo 6, Edora 5, Jacaban 4, Fomera 3, Alcantara 2, de Mesa 2, Torres 1.
Period Scores: 18-11, 37-26, 58-42, 74-59.
DILIMAN (65) – Quattara 21, Enriquez 19, Diego 16, Barranco 8, Aguilon 2, Akpa 1, Protacio 0, Panogadia 0, Antalan 0.
NAGA (54) – Romana 14, Hermonio 14, Okpe 8, Barde 6, Mendoza 6, Magalong 2, Opiana 1, Estingor 0, Yambeu 0.
Period Scores: 27-16, 36-23, 48-40, 65-54.