SAN JUAN City – San Beda College and Far Eastern University claimed their halves of the 2015 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) after defeating separate opponents Thursday (December 17) at the San Juan Arena. Both schools emerged as co-champions after organizers shortened the tournament due to heavy rains that hit Metro Manila in the past days.
The defending champion Red Lions wasted no time in disposing of bitter rival Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 94-72. In the second game, the Tamaraws went through anxious moments before finally holding off University of San Carlos, 82-77.
Ken Holmqvist of FEU was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after churning out 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ironically, the 6’8” Filipino-Norwegian center made a grand total of four points and 10 rebounds in seven games during his school’s recent championship run in the UAAP.
Joining Holmqvist in the second game’s Mythical Five were teammates Joe Allen Trinidad and Prince Orizu and USC’s Ian Tagapan and Shooster Olago. San Beda’s Davon Potts, Donald Tankoua and Robert Bolick plus Letran’s Rey Nambatac and Jerrick Balanza comprised the first game’s Mythical Five.
Coaches Nash Racela and Jamike Jarin were named as Best Coaches. Ian Borbe was adjudged as Best Referee.
Starting hot, the defending champion Red Lions pounced on the unsuspecting Knights and handily took the first period behind starters Potts, Tankoua, Bolick, Dan Sara and Jayvee Mocon, 26-12. From there, it was a blowout as San Beda led by as high as 30 points in the fourth period.
The flashy but effective Potts led San Beda with 11 points and seven rebounds. Seven teammates chipped in nine points each to stress their balanced attack, including Tankoua who also hauled 15 rebounds.
Rookie Jerrick Balanza led Letran with 15 points. Rey Nambatac followed with 10 and Jomari Sollano added nine for the Knights.
It was redemption of sorts for the Red Lions who lost to the Knights in their bid for a sixth straight NCAA title last October. “For now, I just want to have more games for the team together, something which we did not enjoy prior to the last NCAA,” said Coach Jarin.
Coach Jarin’s thoughts were echoed by Coach Racela. “We will be joining several tournaments like the PBA D-League, Father Martin and Got Skills but this is not yet our roster for the next UAAP as a lot can happen between now and the opening,” said Coach Racela who also admitted that the Tamaraws only had three practices in preparation for their joust with the CeSAFI champion Warriors.
Holmqvist and his fellow role players saved the day for the Tamaraws in the fourth period. Suddenly thrust into the forefront of the attack with the graduation of the team’s superstars, Joe Trinidad, Kevin Barkley Ebona and Holmqvist’s elder brother Steve delivered.
Trinidad unloaded 13 of his game-high 19 points in the final 10 minutes, including a dagger triple that gave them an unassailable 79-71 advantage with 1:25 to play. From there, he went on to sink three more free throws to secure the other half of the championship.
Earlier, Orizu completed a three-point play via a vicious dunk that temporarily snuffed the Warriors’ rally, 60-55. The elder Holmqvist and Ebona then hit timely baskets every time the Warriors would attempt to threaten.
Tagapan, a former Tamaraw before transferring, powered the Warriors with 20 points. Olago followed with 14 points and six rebounds while his fellow exchange student Espoir Toyambi knocked in 13 points and seven rebounds.
How They Scored:
SAN BEDA (94) – Potts 11, Cabanag 9, Soberano 9, Oftana 9, Mocon 9, Sara 9, Tankoua 9, Tongco 9, Bolick 8, Noah 7, Sedillo 4, Presbitero 1, Carlos 0, Bonsubre 0, Adamos 0.
LETRAN (72) – Balanza 15, Nambatac 10, Sollano 9, de la Pena 6, Calvo 5, Gedaria 5, Apolonio 5, Publico 5, Bernabe 4, Apreku 2, Luib 2, Quinto 2, Balagasay 1, Caralipio 1, Ular 0.
Period Scores: 26-12, 49-28, 76-51, 94-72.
FAR EASTERN (82) – Trinidad 19, K. Holmqvist 17, S. Holmqvist 10, Bienes 9, Orizu 8, Comboy 7, Nunag 4, Ebona 4, Roxas 2, Lee Yu 2, Bayquin 0, Arong 0, de los Santos 0.
SAN CARLOS (77) – Tagapan 20, Olago 14, Toyambi 13, McAloney 9, Pepito 7, Ortega 6, Laguyo 5, Magat 3, Maconocido 0, Rabat 0, Lim 0, Ecarma 0.
Period Scores: 24-16, 36-34, 57-49, 82-77.