MANDALUYONG CITY – Reigning Most Valuable Player Samboy de Leon returned to the active roster in time to power the defending champion Centro Escolar University over Rizal Technological University, 92-56, in the penultimate day of the elimination round of the 15th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament last Saturday (September 19) at the RTU Gym. The still undefeated Scorpions thus handed the Blue Thunder their first defeat of the season after four straight wins.
De Leon came off the bench to score five quick points in the first period and his presence alone inspired his teammates to combine for a 27-10 from which the Blue Thunder never recovered. He was a recent cut from the training camp of the Star Hotshots, the team that selected him during last month’s PBA Rookie Draft.
Rodrigue Ebondo once again led the way for CEU with 15 points followed by Jason Opiso with 12. De Leon would add six more to finish with 11 markers.
In the second game, the Saint Clare College of Caloocan Saints matched the 4-1 win-loss card of the Blue Thunder by downing the Our Lady of Fatima University Phoenix, 79-65. The Saints also kept their chances for an outright semifinal berth alive especially if they beat the Scorpions on the final day of the eliminations Monday (September 21) at the Makati Coliseum starting at 9:00 AM.
Jeffakins Aguara was a man on a mission in his return from a one-game suspension as he powered the Saints with 16 points. Jonathan Ibarra hit 14 of his 15 points in the fourth period to hold off the Phoenix’ repeated attempts to rally.
How They Scored:
CENTRO ESCOLAR (92) – Ebondo 15, Opiso 12, S. de Leon 11, Abundo 11, Manlangit 8, Jeruta 8, Anunciacion 6, Casino 6, Celso 5, Gallemit 4, Vargas 4, Arim 2, K. de Leon 0. Saber 0, Telen 0.
RIZAL TECH (56) – Pronto 13, Tabi 12, Cenal 8, Riva 7, Santos 5, Bangeles 4, Maloles 3, Mayuyo 2, Sarona 1, Estoce 1, Senires 0, Collado 0. Peralta 0.
Period Scores: 27-10, 40-28, 66-42, 92-56.
SAINT CLARE (79) – Aguara 16, Ibarra 15, Dionisio 12, Detubio 8, Acebron 7, Rios 6, Managuelod 4, Galvelo 3, Lunor 3, Mendoza 2, Umbreit 2, Puspus 1, Grimaldo 0.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (65) – Marquez 26, Jimenez 10, Juanico 9, Jornacion 7, Gozum 4, Pineda 4, Dizon 3, Cabrera 1, de la Paz 1, Rublico 0.
Period Scores: 15-14, 38-31, 50-41, 79-65.