MANDALUYONG CITY – Philippine Christian University grabbed the early lead of the 15th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament by flattening perennial contender Our Lady of Fatima University, 64-58, Monday (September 7) at the Rizal Technological University Gym. The Dolphins now hold a 2-0 win-loss card after escaping the City University of Pasay on opening day, 72-71, last Friday (September 4).
Showing so far that the so-called “sophomore jinx” does not exist, the Dolphins leaned on a barrage of triples in the final two minutes courtesy of Christer Malto and Yves Sazon to secure the victory. Fatima center Adrian Gallardo tied the game for the last time with a free throw split at the 1:45 mark, 53-53, but Malto immediately put PCU on top for good with the first triple, 56-53, and 1:31 to go.
Joseph Marquez then answered back with a field goal, only to be negated by Sazon’s triple, 59-55. Marquez was quickly and could only split his attempts, setting the stage for Sazon’s dagger triple, 62-56.
In the nightcap, home squad RTU Blue Thunder debuted in style by keeping the Pasay Eagles winless in two starts, 75-66. Assistant coach Albert Olaya handled the team in the absence head coach Johnedel Cardel who was in General Santos City.
CUP center Kenneth de Vega was forced to miss the game due to illness, thus allowing RTU frontline stalwarts Sandy Cenal and Alvin Pronto to frolic in the inside and powering RTU to a 20-6 advantage after one period. The Blue Thunder never conceded the lead as they successfully repelled all of the Eagles’ attempts to rally.
Cenal led all scorers with 20 points en route to Player of the Game honors. Rookie Johndel Flores followed with 13.
James Solero paced the Eagles with 16 points. Eric Sarmiento backed him up with 11 and Edgar Erice added 10.
In the first game, last season’s runner-up Saint Clare College of Caloocan served notice of its title intentions by bamboozling season host New Era University, 70-39. The win completed Saint Clare’s dominance of the Hunters after the Junior Saints beat the Junior Hunters, 90-56, and the Lady Saints obliterating the Huntresses, 70-5, last Saturday (September 5) at the same venue.
The Saints of Coach Jino Manansala raced to an 11-0 lead and that was all they needed. The Hunters took almost five minutes to put up points with Brian Ilarde coming off the bench to break their long silence, 2-11.
Alvin Detubio, who used to play for the STI Junior Olympians, marked his return to the NAASCU by leading the Saints with 13 points and Player of the Game honors. Regulars Darwin Lunor and Jan Acebron also knocked in 10 points each.
Ilarde led the Hunters with nine points. Jan Erick Recetes added eight as the entire team struggled for form.
NAASCU action shifts to the Makati Coliseum on Thursday (September 10) with three more Senior games starting with the 9:00 AM meeting between winless sides Fatima and New Era followed by the clash between Saint Clare and Pasay. The main match at 12:00 PM will be between the undefeated Dolphins and the defending champion Centro Escolar Scorpions.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (70) – Detubio 13, Acebron 10, Lunor 10, Managuelod 8, Aguara 7, Rios 7, Puspus 4, Galvelo 3, Esguerra 4, Mendoza 2, de Leon 2, Grimaldo 0.
NEW ERA (39) – Ilarde 9, Recetes 8, Bondoc 6, de la Cruz 5, Macaranas 3, Bebit 3, Cabacungan 2, Asistio 2, Absin 1, Magkalas 0, Bringas 0, Akindele 0, Postigo 0.
Period Scores: 16-11, 29-18, 50-26, 70-39.
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (64) –
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (58) –
Period Scores: 64-58.
RIZAL TECH (75) – Cenal 20, Flores 13, Riva 9, Maloles 9, Bangeles 8, Pronto 5, Senires 3, Estoce 2, Tabi 2, Collado 2, Mayuyo 1, Santos 1, Sarona 0, Malimban 0.
PASAY (66) – Solero 16, Sarmiento 11, Erice 10, Telpo 8, Penaredondo 7, M. de la Cruz 6, Cahansa 4, R. de la Cruz 2, Lizardo 2, Pervera 0, Padilla 0, Encina 0.
Period Scores: 20-8, 36-31, 56-43, 75-66.