MAKATI CITY – Despite losing key players within the first three minutes of the game, Philippine Christian University showed its bench depth by blowing away New Era University, 84-56, at the resumption of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) last September 12 (Monday) at the Makati Coliseum. Team captain Fidel Castro was a true leader as he stepped up to make up of the sudden absence of scoring machines Michael Ayonayon and Von Tambeling.
Ninety seconds after the jump, Ayonayon was first to fall after accidentally colliding with teammate Brent Pallatao and opening a one-inch cut on his right eyebrow. He was immediately replaced by Tambeling, who then rolled his right ankle but not before scoring a quick basket in his 90-second appearance.
The loss of the high-scoring pair seemed to inspire the rest of Dolphins to step up as Castro replaced Tambeling and he joined Dexter Mescallado in pushing their side convincingly ahead after the first period, 20-5. Sporting a heavy bandage, Ayonayon returned in the second period and he joined Castro and Mescallado in continuing the punishment.
PCU enjoyed the game’s biggest lead at the close of the third period, 68-37, but allowed New Era to slowly inch back and slightly pare the final deficit. The Dolphins of Coach Elvis Tolentino continued their climb up the standings with their first winning streak of the season and moved into a triple tie for Sixth to Eighth Place with Our Lady of Fatima University and Manuel L. Quezon University at 4-3.
Castro led all scorers with 27 points, highlighted with a 13-point spree in the second period on six of nine shooting from the three-point line. Mescallado backed him up with 19 points while Ayonayon dropped 16 points and five assists in limited action.
Dexter Castillo was the only New Era player in double figures with 12 points, eight made in the third period. Big men Marc Cabacungan and Richard Velchez were next with only seven points each and 15 combined rebounds as New Era slumped to their fifth straight setback.
How They Scored:
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (84) – Castro 27, Mescallado 19, Ayonayon 16, Sazon 11, Pallatao 4, Vasquez 3, Yasa 2, Tambeling 2, Abrigo 0, Malto 0, Bautista 0, Galit 0.
NEW ERA (56) – Castillo 12, Velchez 7, Cabacungan 7, de la Cruz 5, Ramos 5, Reyes 4, Bringas 4, Akindele 3, Roque 3, Kyrin 2, Asistio 2, Absin 2, Villareal 0, Magkalas 0, Macaranas 0, Perez 0, Pamat 0.
Period Scores: 22-5, 44-17, 68-37, 84-56.