MANDALUYONG CITY – The big 18-point lead slowly built by Colegio de San Lorenzo proved to be enough as they thwarted the late rallies of Our Lady of Fatima University, 90-88, at the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Rizal Technological University Gym Sunday (September 11). The Griffins put an end to their five-game losing skid wherein they have not won a game since beating the City University of Pasay, 94-79, on opening day last August 25.
The Phoenix had no solution for Griffins big man Jun Gabriel who frolicked around the basket and helping erect their 77-59 lead with five minutes remaining on a triple by Rick Baldevia. Suddenly, Fatima went on a tear and held the Griffins sans a field goal in the game’s final three minutes, coming to their closest on consecutive triples from Benjie Jimenez and Miguel Bryan Cabrera at the 15-second mark, 88-89.
Six seconds later, JC Foronda was immediately fouled and made only the first of his two attempts to increase their lead to three points, 88-90. With no more timeouts to call, the Phoenix rushed down the court but Joseph Marquez missed the potential game-winning shot, eliciting moans and groans from the audience.
Coach Boni Garcia was not around to guide the Griffins as he attended his mother-in-law’s funeral in Pangasinan. In his place, assistant coach Juan Miguel Martin called the shots as they improved to 2-5 and stay within striking distance of the eighth and last playoff spot at the halfway point of the elimination phase.
After scoring 42 in their last game, Gabriel followed it up with 27 points and 10 rebounds. James Alvarado was next with 14 points.
Marquez still paced the Phoenix with 25 points followed by AJ Perea with 12 points. Our Lady of Fatima has now lost two in a row for the first time this season and three of their last four games, including the recent out of town sortie against Lyceum of Subic Bay last September 8 at the SBMA Gym, 72-86.
How They Scored:
SAN LORENZO (90) – Gabriel 27, Alvarado 14, Laman 10, Baldevia 10, Borja 9, Vargas 6, Foronda 6, Astrero 4, Ancheta 2, Carongoy 2, Ajero 0, Callano 0.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (88) – Marquez 25, Perea 12, Cabrera 9, Datu 8, Jimenez 7, Bargola 6, Juanico 6, Pedrosa 5, Japzon 5, Penafiel 3, Essomba 2, Albano 0, Gozum 0.
Period Scores: 20-14, 39-32, 66-56, 90-88.