MAKATI CITY – Defending champion Centro Escolar University needed an overtime to deal Philippine Christian University its first loss in the 15th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament, 83-74, last Thursday (September 10) at the Makati Coliseum. The Scorpions thus assumed a share of the lead with Saint Clare College of Caloocan who blasted City University of Pasay in the earlier contest, 66-52, with two wins and no defeats.
Living up to its billing, both CEU and PCU battled on even terms with the Dolphins controlling the first three periods. Rodrigue Ebondo hit a triple from the top of the key with two seconds left in regulation to force the extension, 69-69.
Silent and ineffective in the first four periods, O’Neil Arim and Jason Opiso struck hard when it mattered most. Arim hit a triple that gave CEU the upper hand for good and this was followed by back to back baskets by Opiso that built a 78-72 cushion at the two-minute warning.
Yves Sazon converted a field goal that proved to be the Dolphins’ final hurrah, 74-78, as Ebondo, Rey Telen and JK Casino chipped in the insurance free throws. The now 2-1 Dolphins tumbled all the way down to Fourth Place.
Ebondo was the hands down choice as Player of the Game with 26 points and 22 rebounds. Casino added four triples as part of his 17 markers.
It was a sorry loss for PCU which led for most of the way. Sazon paced the Dolphins with 21 points followed by Michael Ayonayon with 19.
While the final score reflected an easy win for the Saints, the Eagles actually gave their fancied opponents fits as they refused to give up. In the end, the Saints asserted their height and heft advantage to the hilt as big men Darwin Lunor and Jeffakins Aguara mocked all defenses thrown at them for easy scores.
Lunor was a picture of efficiency with an eight out of 11 shooting clip, good for a team-best 18 points. Aguara was not far behind with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Eagles skipper Aldrin Telpo paced the squad with 16 points, James Solero battled the Saint Clare bigs with 13 points and 13 rebounds but the team really missed the services of Kenneth de Vega and Eric Sarmiento.
In the day’s opener, the Our Lady of Fatima University Phoenix collected its first win by goring the New Era University Hunters, 104-60. A 24-2 opening period was all Fatima needed as they limited the Hunters to only two free throws.
Four players in Grevanni Rublico, Jerome Juanico, Benjie Jimenez and team captain Joseph Marquez all contributed 13 points each. The Phoenix are now at 1-1 while the Hunters remained in search for the elusive victory after three setbacks.
Brian Ilarde paced New Era with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Louise Bondoc and Angelo Bebit were the other few bright spots with 11 and 10 respectively.
How They Scored:
OUR LADY OF F ATIMA (104) – Rublico 13, Marquez 13, Juanico 13, Jimenez 13, Jornacion 11, Cruz 8, Datu 8, Pineda 6, Gozum 5, Dizon 4, de la Paz 4, Nunez 4, Cabrera 1, Albano 1, Abapo 0.
NEW ERA (60) – Ilarde 12, Bondoc 11, Bebit 10, Recetes 7, Asistio 6, Akindele 5, Macaranas 4, Postigo 3, Magkalas 2, Abin 0, Banzagales 0, Bringas 0, Cabacungan 0.
Period Scores: 24-2, 48-25, 75-40, 104-60.
SAINT CLARE (66) – Lunor 18, Aguara 16, Mendoza 7, Galvelo 4, Detubio 0, Ibarra 4, Rios 4, Puspus 3, Grimaldo 3, Acebron 2, Managuelod 1, de Leon 0, Esguerra 0, Umbreit 0.
PASAY (52) – Telpo 16, Solero 11, Erice 7, Pervera 6, Castaneda 4, Encina 3, R. de la Cruz 2, Padilla 2, Varquez 1, Cahansa 0, Lizardo 0.
Period Scores: 18-10, 32-24, 51-37, 66-52.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (83) – Ebondo 26, Casino 17, Manlangit 15, Telen 6, Opiso 5, Abundo 4, Arim 3, Jeruta 3, Anunciacion 2, Celso 2, Gallemit 0, Vargas 0, K. de Leon 0, Saber 0.
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (74) – Sazon 21, Ayonayon 19, Mescallado 13, Pallatao 7, Malto 6, Catipay 6, Vasquez 2, Dangca 0, Leron 0.
Period Scores: 9-16, 30-35, 47-48, 69-69 (reg.), 83-74 (OT).