MANDALUYONG CITY – Favored teams Saint Clare College of Caloocan and Philippine Christian University completed the Final Four cast of the 15th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament with contrasting wins Thursday at the Rizal Technological University Gym. The PCU Dolphins needed overtime to subdue the Our Lady of Fatima University Phoenix, 81-80, while the Saints coasted to victory against the tough City University of Pasay Eagles, 90-71.
Returning from an injury sustained 10 days ago, Yves Sazon hit the marginal free throws off a John Rovin Datu foul with seven seconds left in the extra period. Left without timeouts, Romyl Jornacion tried to salvage the game but his running shot at the buzzer missed.
It was a big sigh of relief for the Dolphins who squandered a 19-point lead. Dexter Mescallado forced overtime by tying the game, 69-69, and 33 seconds to play in regulation. Earlier, Jornacion clustered a triple and a field goal to give the Phoenix the upper hand at the 45-second mark, 69-67.
Michael Ayonayon again assumed his spot as PCU’s top gun with 22 points followed by Sazon with 20. Guard Christer Malto was chosen as Player of the Game for his 16 points that included four crucial charities in the fourth period and overtime.
Jornacion led the Phoenix with 21 points, 13 of those coming in the fourth period and overtime. Joseph Marquez added 17.
Aris Dionisio came off the bench midway in the first period to unload five quick points, combining well with starters Bong Managuelod and Jeffakins Aguara to push Saint Clare ahead, 19-9. The poor start proved to be the Eagles undoing as they struggled throughout the contest despite stellar efforts by Aldrin Telpo, Edgar Erice and Eric Sarmiento to rally the team.
Starting guard Jonathan Ibarra was named as the Player of the Game for having six points each in the final two periods en route to a team-best 16 markers plus his quarterbacking that helped maintain the Saints’ margin. Managuelod followed with 14 points to tow four other teammates banging in double figures.
Telpo led the Eagles with 25 points followed by Erice who sank five triples for 19 points. Compounding the Eagles’ problems was the ejection of Coach Benedict Martin late in the game for excessive complaining.
PCU will now face the undefeated defending champion and top seed Centro Escolar University Scorpions while the Saints will tangle with the second seed RTU Blue Thunder in separate best-of-three series. The playoffs in all divisions will continue with four games this coming Saturday (September 26) at the Trinity University of Asia Gym in Quezon City starting at 8:00 AM.
In the Juniors Division stepladder playoffs, the third seed Junior Phoenix bucked the hostile overflow crowd to put away the fourth seed RTU Junior Thunder, 62-52, and arrange a meeting with the defending champion Junior Saints for the right to face the undefeated Junior Scorpions in the best-of-three finals. The Junior Phoenix raced to an 11-0 lead from the opening tip behind Emilio Japzon and Ismael Bueno and never looked back.
Erwin Bargola added seven more points in the second canto as he eventually topped the Junior Phoenix in scoring with 13 points. Bueno and Japzon followed with 11 apiece.
Nicole Liquinan and Jonathan Boholano were the only Junior Thunder in twin figures with 16 and 10 respectively. All of Boholano’s offense came in the second half as the home team tried to rally but the Junior Phoenix always had a ready counter move.
In Women’s action, defending champion CEU ended the elimination round with a clinical drubbing of the RTU Lady Thunder, 74-65, for a four-game sweep and an automatic spot in the best-of-three finals. RTU, which played and won its last two games with only six available players, saw the return of its complete roster from a goodwill visit to Zamboanga City but it hardly mattered.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Janine Pontejos started by hitting a miraculous midcourt shot at the halftime buzzer to stretch the Lady Scorpions’ lead, 33-26. She then joined forces with Sthefanie Ventura for 16 points in the third as they pulled away, 58-35, and saving enough energy to hold off RTU’s late comeback in the fourth period.
Pontejos led all scorers with 20 points followed by Ventura with 15. Angelica Jaberto and Jocelyn Ayhon paced RTU with 16 and 13 respectively as they absorbed their first setback of the season.
The second seed Lady Thunder will now play the third seed OLFU Lady Phoenix, who defeated the fourth seed Saint Clare Lady Saints in their stepladder playoff, 55-50. It was a fitting follow-up to OLFU’s 58-56 escape last September 18 at the same venue.
Katrina Servillon topped the Lady Phoenix with 15 points while Angela Buenamente added 11. Sam Mendoza led Saint Clare with 17 followed by Sharry Briones with 14.
How They Scored:
First Game (Women)
CENTRO ESCOLAR (74) – Pontejos 20, Ventura 15, Caranto 13, Doloque 11, Lacson 7, Matos 5, Lawan 2, Galgo 2, Solis 1.
RIZAL TECH (65) – Jaberto 16, Ayhon 13, Duazo 12, Mier 11, Inoferio 9, Pocallan 3, Santos 2, Ybanez 0.
Period Scores: 13-11, 33-26, 58-35, 74-65.
Second Game (Women)
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (55) – Servillon 15, Buenamente 11, Manahan 9, Evangelio 7, Quitomo 6, Tuazon 5, Valerio 1, Escotido 1, Bentic 0, Vasquez 0.
SAINT CLARE (50) – Mendoza 17, Briones 14, Sison 6, Natividad 5, Parina 4, Decapia 2, Alfaro 2, Reyes 0, Hernandez 0.
Period Scores: 11-11, 28-24, 42-38, 55-50.
Third Game (Juniors)
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (62) – Bargola 13, Japzon 11, Bueno 11, Lumbera 9, Rapsing 6, Alade 5, Canilao 4, Legaspi 3, Geraldo 0, Panganiban 0.
RIZAL TECH (52) – Liquinan 16, Boholano 10, Tadena 6, Monghit 5, Guting 5, Haboc 3, Nabor 3, Jacinto 2, Grande 2, Adorable 0, Aseo 0, Redondo 0.
Period Scores: 17-6, 36-19, 52-38, 62-52.
Fourth Game (Seniors)
SAINT CLARE (90) – Ibarra 16, Managuelod 14, Detubio 13, Aguara 12, Lunor 10, Dionisio 10, Galvelo 8, Rios 3, Esguerra 2, Acebron 1, de Leon 1, Mendoza 0, Grimaldo 0, Umbreit 0.
PASAY (71) – Telpo 25, Erice 19, Sarmiento 12, de Vega 7, Lizardo 4, Solero 2, Penaredondo 1, Padilla 1, M. de la Cruz 0, Pervera 0, Cahansa 0, Castaneda 0.
Period Scores: 19-9, 33-28, 62-50, 90-71.
Fifth Game (Seniors)
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (81) – Ayonayon 22, Sazon 20, Malto 16, Dangca 14, Mescallado 8, Palattao 1, Vasquez 0, Bautista 0, Leron 0, Catipay 0.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (80) – Jornacion 21, Marquez 17, Juanico 15, Cruz 8, Jimenez 7, Cabrera 6, Datu 4, Gozum 2, Rublico 0, del Rosario 0, Pineda 0, Albano 0.
Period Scores: 19-12, 33-22, 60-43, 69-69 (reg.), 81-80 (OT).