MANILA – Amidst the hostile environment, visiting Centro Escolar University captured the Fourth National Collegiate Basketball League (NCBL) title by taming the host Technological Institute of the Philippines, 75-65, at the TIP-Manila Gym last Tuesday (September 1). The Scorpions of Coach Edgar Macaraya completed the six-team tournament undefeated in all their 12 games.
Holding a precarious 35-32 lead, the Scorpions responded positively to Coach Macaraya’s halftime huddle as he lashed out at his players for “playing lazy”. Alfred Batino led the charge as he unloaded 15 of his 21 points in the second half on top of five rebounds to earn Freego Best Player of the Finals honors.
TIP’s Roldan Pinas tied the score for the last time, 61-61, via two free throws off JK Casino with 6:40 to go. Defense again proved to be the key for CEU as they held the Engineers to a solitary free throw in an almost six-minute span while leaving the home fans stunned in disbelief.
Batino, Rodrigue Ebondo and Samboy de Leon delivered the key hits with Jason Opiso capping the Scorpions’ 12-1 run with a booming triple at the 1:05 mark, 73-62. That proved to be the jugular as TIP continued to fire blanks from the field and de Leon icing the game and the final tally with two free throws.
Ebondo and de Leon submitted 11 and 10 points respectively. The CEU pair was later named to the tournament’s Freego Mythical Five along with Kim Medina of TIP, Dennis Santos of Manuel L. Quezon University and Von Tambeling of Philippine Christian University.
For his excellent play throughout the tournament, Ebondo was selected as the Freego Most Valuable Player. The exchange student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo regularly churned out double-figures in both points and rebounds.
“This is a result of the players’ hard work,” said Coach Macaraya. “This is for the students of CEU and the team management who never fails to support us.”
Pinas paced the Engineers of Coach Sebastian de Vera with 12 points. The trio of Medina, Jemuel Namocatcat and Raymond Alvarado followed with 11 markers each.
This is the second NCBL title for CEU and Coach Macaraya after winning the very first tournament held in March, 2013. The Scorpions also earned a spot in the coming Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).
Other members of the champion squad are Alvin Abundo, Aaron Jeruta, Joseph Celso, JM Vargas, Jhan Anunciacion, Joseph Manlangit, Jeremy Gallemit, Rey Telen, Art Patrick Aquino, O’Neal Arim, Kenneth Kurt de Leon, JR Aranas and Sonny Boy Saber. Coach Macaraya’s assistants coaches are Yong Garcia, Jun Tiongco, Oscar Torres, Jay Cambarihan and Timothy Taclas with athletic trainers Philip Go, Rachel Santos and Alex Almonte.
How They Scored:
CENTRO ESCOLAR (75) – Batino 21, Ebondo 11, S. de Leon 10, Opiso 9, Casino 8, K. de Leon 5, Arim 4, Abundo 3, Jeruta 3, Manlangit 1, Saber 0, Celso 0, Telen 0.
TIP-MANILA (65) – Pinas 12, Namocatcat 11, Medina 11, Alvarado 11, Ibanez 8, Okoronkwo 4, Akpuru 3, Tumalip 3, Alcober 2, Gadon 0, Santos 0.
Period Scores: 12-16, 35-32, 54-53, 75-65.