TANAUAN CITY – It will be a rematch of the last three championship series of the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) as the Centro Escolar University Scorpions and Saint Clare College of Caloocan Saints blasted separate foes Saturday afternoon (November 8) at the resumption of the 2014 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Luzon-Metro Manila playoffs at the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities Gym. The archrivals try to knockout each other Sunday (November 9) at the same venue starting at 2:00 PM with the winner getting a chance to vie for the last spot in the Elite Eight next week.
After the score was deadlocked for the second and last time at 4-4, the Scorpions of four-time NAASCU Coach of the Year Edgar Macaraya banked on the hot hands of Samboy de Leon and Joseph Sedurifa plus defensive anchor Rodrigue Ebondo to run away with the first period, 22-12. With the possibility of playing their final college game looming, graduating seniors Justine Alano and Joel Jolangcob spearheaded a mighty Alta comeback with Jolangcob’s basket cutting their deficit to a single point, 32-33, and 1:18 left in the second period.
That proved to be the best that the Altas could do as de Leon hit a basket followed by a Sedurifa triple at the buzzer to stretch CEU’s lead at the half, 38-32. Momentum was clearly the Scorpions’ side as Sedurifa continued to wax hot via a five-point cluster that erected their biggest lead with still six minutes left in the game, 68-55.
Still, Perpetual refused to give as NCAA MVP Earl Scottie Thompson took over and slowly gnawed away at the Scorpions’ lead with John Genmar Ylagan’s field goal putting them at their closest in the second half, 70-75, at the 1:09 mark. Aaron Jeruta then connected on three free throws and made a crucial steal with 29 ticks on the clock to preserve the win.
Sedurifa, the 2013 NAASCU MVP, led the Scorpions with 20 points while current MVP de Leon added 18. Jeruta, the 2012 NAASCU Juniors MVP, finished with 16.
Thompson paced the Altas with 20 points, 16 coming in the second half. Alano and Jolangcob ended their collegiate careers with 15 and 10 markers respectively.
The Saints had a relatively easier time against fellow NAASCU campaigner Diliman College Blue Dragons, 61-47. Former Saint Ivan Barranco gave the Blue Dragons their only taste of the lead via a triple, 3-2, and it was an all-Saint Clare show thereon.
Coach Jino Manansala drew a balanced output from his crew, victors the other day over the Lyceum of Subic Sharks, 74-59. The Blue Dragons advanced at the expense of Naga College Foundation Tigers, 65-54.
Jayson Ibay sizzled for eight points in the third period as the Saints slowly built their lead. A triple by Robin Dulalia and a basket by Fabien Redoh gave the Saints their biggest advantage, 55-37, with 5:12 to go in the contest.
The Blue Dragons continued to try their best by answering with 10-3 run, 47-58, but time was not on their side. A nonchalant triple by Jan Acebron at the buzzer settled the final tally.
Ibay ended up with a team-best 13 points. Guards Marte Gil and Jonathan Ibarra backed him up with 12 and 11 respectively.
Ibrahim Quattara topped the Blue Dragons with 12 points followed by Harley Diego with 10 and MacArthur Enriquez with nine. The Saints also bested the Blue Dragons in the Metro Manila eliminations, 64-58, last October 30 at the Technological Institute of the Philippines Gym.
The winner of the Scorpions-Saints fixture will play the survivor of the other Sunday battle between defending champion De La Salle University and Jose Rizal University on Monday (November 10). Already qualified for the Elite Eight are San Beda College, National University, Southwestern University, Arellano University, Far Eastern University, University of San Carlos and University of the Visayas.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (61) – Ibay 13, Gil 12, Ibarra 11, Managuelod 7, Acebron 5, Redoh 5, Dulalia 4, Jamito 4, Mendoza 0, Lunor 0.
DILIMAN (47) – Quattara 12, Diego 10, Enriquez 9, Barranco 7, Antalan 4, Protacio 3, Panagodia 2, Akpa 0, Aguilon 0.
Period Scores: 20-11, 30-24, 45-35, 61-47.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (78) – Sedurifa 20, de Leon 18, Jeruta 16, Celso 7, Ebondo 7, Vargas 4, Abundo 4, Casino 2, Saber 0, Aquino 0, Opiso 0, Mutombo 0, Anunciacion 0, Batino 0, Banua 0.
PERPETUAL HELP (72) – Thompson 18, Alano 15, Jolangcob 10, Colonel 8, Dizon 5, Dagangon 5, Oliveria 4, Bantayan 3, Gallardo 2, Ylagan 2, Tamayo 0, Pido 0, Mangalino 0.
Period Scores: 22-12, 38-32, 54-48, 78-72.