MANDALUYONG CITY – What seemed to be a cakewalk for Our Lady of Fatima University almost turned into a nightmare as timely substitutions keyed their win over Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, 96-83, at the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Rizal Technological University Gym last September 16 (Friday). The final score was not reflective of Fatima’s domination of EARIST, which staged a late fight back to reduce the final deficit.
Allowing the Red Fox to lead after one period, 23-22, the Phoenix behind Miguel Bryan Cabrera scored the first 13 points in the second period to break the game wide open, 35-23. So dominating was the Phoenix that they stretched their lead to as much as 31 points, 67-36.
With Coach Ralph Rivera fielding his second and third stringers, EARIST slowly ate into their lead and closed in behind Tolits Natividad, Bryan Hilario, Andreas Cahilig and Jervis Bandalan with Hilario’s free throws putting them at their closest with 1:27 remaining, 81-88. In the middle of the rally, Coach Rivera returned his starters but the task of playing catch up took a lot out of EARIST as they simply ground to a halt.
Cabrera would hit his lone field goal in the second half to restore Fatima’s double digit lead, 81-71, and Jerome Juanico, John Rovin Datu and Christophe Essomba would connect from the free throw line to preserve the hard-earned win. The Phoenix improved to 6-3 to share Third and Fourth Place with Manuel L. Quezon University which won in the previous game over City University of Pasay, 92-85.
Cabrera scored 10 of his 18 points in the critical second period run on top of five rebounds, three assists and two steals for Best Play honors. Jessierey Pedrose came off the bench to add 14 points and five rebounds.
Natividad paced the Red Fox with 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and eight steals but the effort was not enough to prevent them from dropping to 1-9 and formal elimination from the tournament. Hilario also had 21 points while Cahilig and Bandalan chipped in 16 markers each.
How They Scored:
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (96) – Cabrera 18, Pedrosa 14, Marquez 12, Datu 8, Bacay 8, Penafiel 8, Essomba 8, Perea 6, Japzon 4, Juanico 3, Albano 2, Bargola 2, Canoy 8, Alajar 1, Jimenez 0, Fermin 0.
E A R I S T (83) – Hilario 21, Natividad 21, Bandalan 16, Cahilig 16, Cabalsi 5, del Rio 3, Galvez 1, Joyo 0, Urbano 0, Llobrera 0.
Period Scores: 22-23, 51-31, 76-54, 96-83.