MANDALUYONG CITY – Manuel L. Quezon University completed the biggest upset and rocked the landscape of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) after downing no less than erstwhile undefeated league leader Saint Clare College of Caloocan, 83-82, at the Rizal Technological University Gym Sunday morning (September 11). Christopher Bitoon hit a crucial triple and Ronnie Pangan and Jeymark Mallari secured the win from the free throw line for the Stallions which improved to 4-3 while sending the Saints crashing to 7-1.
Bitoon connected on a top of the key triple with 51 seconds left in the game to give the Stallions a 79-77 advantage, ironically their only connection from long distance. Irven Palencia then scored to tie the count at 79-79 and 34 ticks on the clock.
Pangan restored the lead to MLQU on two free throws off Paeng Rebugio’s fifth and final foul, 81-79, before Palencia missed on a spinning drive to the basket forcing the Saints to foul Mallari who promptly made two more free throws to secure the victory with four seconds to play, 83-79. A triple at the buzzer by Rojay Santos settled the final count.
Bitoon led all scorers with a well-spaced 27 points plus three assists. Mallari backed him up with 15 points.
Palencia topped Saint Clare with 18 points, 10 made in the second period as he helped the Saints in forcing a 39-39 standoff at halftime. Aris Dionisio had his usual double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds plus four blocks but dips in the performance of his other teammates affected their chances.
The disparity in win-loss records hardly mattered as both sides engaged in a battle of attrition through 10 deadlocks and 13 lead changes. Foul trouble tolled heavily on Saint Clare as the Stallions responded by hitting 30 of their 37 charities compared to the Saints’ 15 of 23 clip.
How They Scored:
MANUEL L. QUEZON (83) – Bitoon 27, Mallari 15, Ignacio 10, Pangan 8, Aurelio 6, Lao 6, de la Cruz 6, Rivera 3, Padua 2, Baliday 0.
SAINT CLARE (82) – Palencia 18, Dionisio 13, Santos 9, Puspus 8, Rebugio 7, Fongue 7, de Leon 6, Fuentes 6, de Mesa 6, Rios 2, Hallare 0, Perez 0, Managuelod 0.
Period Scores: 20-16, 39-39, 63-61, 83-82.