MANILA – Prolific Christopher Bitoon hit two crucial free throws in the waning seconds to lift Manuel L. Quezon University over Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, 68-65, in the best game from the National Collegiate Basketball League (NCBL) last August 4 (Tuesday) at the TIP Gym. In the next game, Centro Escolar University continued its mastery of the field by repeating over Olivarez College, 49-38.
The Stallions were ahead comfortably entering the third period, 53-38, until the Red Fox began their mighty comeback behind the triples of RJ Natividad, June Cruz and Israel Montealegre and the inside forays of the burly Ebuka Umeanozie, who eventually tied the game via a three-point play with 57 seconds to play, 64-64. EARIST then send Bitoon to the free throw line at the 24-second mark, sinking his first but missed the second and the loose ball batted out of bounds in favor of the Stallions.
Bitoon was fouled anew and he again split his charity attempts and MLQU ahead, 66-64. Suddenly, Umeanozie was fouled and had a chance to force and extension with two seconds left but could only make one free throw and Carlou Lloren grabbed the defensive plus a foul at the buzzer for two more free throws to settle the final tally.
Bitoon led all scorers with 30 points to power MLQU to its second win in five games. John Ambulodto backed him up with 10 points and seven rebounds.
“The players showed their character today because they did not quit even if EARIST was rallying,” said Coach Jino Manansala. MLQU is coming off a heartbreaking 71-70 setback to the Philippine Christian University Dolphins of Coach Loreto Tolentino last Saturday (August 1).
Umeanozie’s monster effort of 19 points and 13 rebounds went to naught. Natividad popped in 15 as the Red Fox of Coach Ringo Jimenez are still looking for their first win at the halfway point of the 30-game classification phase.
Centro Escolar extended its winning run to five games by repeating over the Sea Lions in a clinical display of defense, 49-38. If not for a late fourth period flurry, it looked like the Sea Lions would be limited to only 30 markers, a testament to the Scorpions’ defensive savvy.
Still, winning coach Edgar Macaraya was not satisfied. “We were outscored in the fourth period, 13-6, so the team has to learn not to relax even when the game is well under our control.”
Rodrigue Ebondo again frolicked in the shaded lane with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Samboy de Leon fired from the outside for 10 points for the Scorpions who beat the same Sea Lions exactly a week ago, 70-44.
Dwight Saguiguit and Klarenz Singh paced Olivarez with six points each. CEU now holds a two-game lead over closest chasers Olivarez and TIP-Manila, which matched Olivarez’ 3-2 win-loss card after holding off the PCU Dolphins in the main game, 68-61.
Dolphin Von Tambeling scored a basket and followed it up with a free throw in their next possession to threaten, 61-64, and 1:53 on the clock. The Engineers, cheered on by their home fans, then held the Dolphins scoreless from thereon with Kimley Medina scoring all of his four points from the free throw line to save the day.
Nino Ibanez topped the Engineers of Coach Sebastian de Vera with 13 points. Joshua Alcober and Jemuel Namocatcat chipped in 11 markers each.
Tambeling again was the top scorer for PCU with 17 points. Mike Ayonayon followed with 13 and Yves Sazon with 11.
How They Scored:
MANUEL L. QUEZON (68) – Bitoon 30, Ambulodto 10, Rivera 6, Lloren 6, Santos 5, Maglangcom 4, Balidoy 4, Lao 2, Ignacio 1, Aurelio 0, Caliguiran 0.
EARIST (65) – Umeanozie 19, Natividad 15, Quiminales 11, Montealegre 9, Laus 6, Cruz 5, Orticio 0, Martinez 0, Pancho 0, Jimenez 0, Bandalan 0.
Period Scores: 19-9, 35-20, 53-38, 68-65.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (49) – Ebondo 11, S. de Leon 10, Opiso 7, Celso 4, K. de Leon 4, Telen 3, Saber 2, Anunciacion 2, Vargas 2, Batino 2, Jeruta 2, Arim 0, Casino 0, Abundo 0, Gallemit 0.
OLIVAREZ (38) – Saguiguit 6, Singh 6, Navarro 4, Bermudes 4, Magbitang 4, Labis 4, Bustos 3, Begaso 2, Corneh 2, Young 2, Jasmin 1, Madera 0, Tomilloso 0, Solis 0, Diaz 0.
Period Scores: 14-8, 25-18, 43-25, 49-38.
TIP-MANILA (68) – Ibanez 13, Namocatcat 11, Alcober 11, Pinas 8, Okoronkwo 7, Barranco 5, Medina 4, Santos 4, Lara 3, Gadon 2, Akpuru 0.
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (61) – Tambeling 17, Ayonayon 13, Sazon 11, Dangca 9, Castro 8, Pallatao 3, Abrigo 6, Vasquez 0, Mescallado 0, Malto 0, Bautista 0, Bayotas 0, Leron 0, Catipay 0.
Period Scores: 12-12, 35-31, 51-43, 68-61.