MANILA – Top seeds Centro Escolar University Scorpions and Technological Institute of the Philippines Engineers advanced to the championship game of the National Collegiate Basketball League (NCBL) via dominating performances against their semifinal opponents last Friday (August 28) at the TIP-Manila Gym. The finale will be contested on September 1 (Tuesday) at the same venue starting at 10:00 AM.
The Scorpions kept their perfect slate by halting the Philippine Christian University Dolphins, 70-55. In the first game, the Engineers go the better of the Olivarez College Sea Lions, 61-46.
Leading all the way, CEU went ahead by as much as 23 markers in the third period, 49-26. Suddenly, the Dolphins woke up and rallied behind the one-two scoring punch of Von Tambeling and Michael Ayonayon, with the latter completing a three-point play to reduce the deficit to only five points at the 9:27 mark of the fourth period, 46-51.
The Scorpions quickly zapped the uprising starting with timely free throws from Aaron Jeruta followed by back to back baskets by JK Casino and Jason Opiso. Coach Edgar Macaraya then reintroduced his regular starters to finish the job with Rodrigue Ebondo putting an exclamation point with a thundering dunk, 68-55, and 41 seconds left.
Ebondo copped another Freego Best Player citation with 22 points and 13 rebounds. O’Neal Arim and Samboy de Leon both had a pair of triples to finish with eight points each.
Tambeling paced the Dolphins with 15 points. Ayonayon was close behind with 14 points.
Cheered on by the home crowd, Chief Engineer Jemuel Namocatcat sank a triple to signal the start of a critical 11-0 run that gave TIP an unassailable 55-39 cushion with 2:50 remaining in the game. Pruvil Bermudes then shatter the Sea Lions’ almost six-minute silence with a triple but this was quickly answered by another Namocatcat triple just as the two-minute warning sounded, 56-42.
Freego Best Player Namocatcat submitted 11 of his team-best 18 points in the fourth period to key the win for the wards of Coach Sebastian de Vera. Jay Gadon was next with nine points.
Bermudes paced the Sea Lions with 18 points. Marvi Bustos, who hit a triple just before the Engineers’ game-clinching run, added 10 points.
Before Tuesday’s championship game, the NCBL will honor the tournament’s best individual performers. The champion team will also earn the right to be the league’s official representative to the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).
CEU won the very first NCBL tournament in March of 2013. The Scorpions opted not to participate in the second tournament held in October of the same year that was captured by the Engineers.
How They Scored:
TIP-MANILA (61) – Namocatcat 18, Gadon 9, Akpuru 7, Medina 7, Okoronkwo 4, Tumalip 4, Alcober 4, Pinas 4, Ibanez 3, Santos 1, Lara 0.
OLIVAREZ (46) – Bermudes 18, Bustos 10, Singh 6, Begaso 4, Saguiguit 3, Corneh 2, Labis 2, Magbitang 1, Navarro 0, Tomilloso 0, Andico 0.
Period Scores: 9-8, 24-16, 41-35, 61-46.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (70) – Ebondo 22, Arim 8, S. de Leon 8, Opiso 7, Casino 5, Jeruta 4, Gallemit 4, Manlangit 4, Celso 3, Abundo 3, Batino 2, Saber 0, Telen 0.
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (55) – Tambeling 15, Ayonayon 14, Dangca 8, Mescallado 7, Sazon 4, Castro 3, Pallatao 3, Malto 0, Bautista 0, Bayotas 0, Leron 0, Catipay 0, Vasquez 0.
Period Scores: 19-14, 32-20, 51-41, 70-55.