MAKATI CITY – Rizal Technological University achieved its first back to back victories in the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Basketball tournament after they tamed New Era University, 81-74, at the resumption of play Friday (September 9) at the Makati Coliseum. The Blue Thunder though had to work extra hard amidst the strong New Era rallies in the second half to get the win.
With veterans Cyrus Tabi and Kerr Bangeles at the firing end, RTU was unrelenting in staging a 19-0 run to peg the count at 34-7 nearing the midway point of the second period. New Era’s seven points all came in the first period courtesy of forward Richard Velchez but he had to sit down after picking up four quick fouls.
Still, New Era did not quit with Nemesis de la Cruz and Marc Cabacungan leading their patient fight back. Cabucungan scored via an offensive rebound off de la Cruz’ missed free throw to put them at their closest with 30 seconds to play, 72-78.
Tabi was quickly fouled and promptly made his two free throws for more breathing room, 80-72. New Era then committed a travelling violation that more or less sealed their fate as Roque Estoce was sent to the line and added one more free throw to insure the victory for the Blue Thunder with still 15 ticks on the clock, 81-72, as Clyde Reyes settled the final tally with a late layup.
Tabi scored nine of his team-best 18 points in the first period. Bangeles added 16 on top of six rebounds for Best Player honors in putting the Blue Thunder above 500 at 4-3.
AJ Ramos paced New Era with 14 points. Velchez and Cabacungan had 13 points each and a combined 14 rebounds as they lost for the fourth straight game, dropping their record to 1-5.
How They Scored:
RIZAL TECHNOLOGICAL (81) – Tabi 18, Bangeles 16, Senires 9, Reyes 8, Asuncion 8, Estoce 7, Riva 5, Flores 5, Jacinto 2, Tilos 1, Quibuyen 1, Grande 1, Monghit 0, Lagman 0, Lutia 0.
NEW ERA (74) – Ramos 14, Velchez 13, Cabacungan 13, Reyes 9, Akindele 8, de la Cruz 7, Bringas 4, Roque 4, Castillo 2, Villareal 0, Magkalas 0, Absin 0, Asistio 0, Perez 0.
Period Scores: 22-7, 44-25, 61-43, 81-74.