MANDALUYONG CITY – Manuel L. Quezon University continued to be the current hottest team in the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) after making short work of City University of Pasay, 92-85, for their fourth win in a row Friday morning (September 16) at the Rizal Technological University Gym. However, the Stallions still had to work extra hard in the final period amidst of the Eagles’ intense rallies.
The Stallions were well on the way to tally the victory after leading by 12 points in the fourth period, 78-66. However, a 9-0 CUP run capped by a Jayvee de la Cruz triple followed by two free throws by Jayvee Pervera put the Eagles at their closest with 1:58 to play, 77-80.
Nikko Lao responded by feeding Ronnie Pangan for an easy two points after which Lao found himself the recipient of a Jeymark Mallari assist to give MLQU breathing space,84-77, and 1:37 remaining. Refusing to fold, the Eagles clawed back as Janno Penaredondo’s basket put them anew at their closest but with only 21 ticks on the clock, 85-88.
By then, time was not on the Eagles’ side as they slowly imploded by missing shots. Two free throws each from Mallari and Daryl Aurelio sealed the victory for the Stallions.
With team leader Christopher Bitoon having a rare off game, the Stallions drew good numbers from Mallari with 19 points, 11 coming in the fourth period. Pangan and Allen King de la Cruz were next with 13 markers each.
Rutger Acidre paced the winless Eagles with 15 followed by Adrian Gatchalian with 14. The Eagles are now formally eliminated from title contention with four games left on their schedule.
The Stallions moved up to solo Fourth Place with six wins in nine games. A punishing schedule awaits as their remaining opponents include Philippine Christian University, Philippine Merchant Marine School, RTU and De Ocampo Memorial College.
How They Scored:
MANUEL L. QUEZON (92) – Mallari 19, de la Cruz 13, Pangan 13, Lao 11, Aurelio 10, Bitoon 9, Ignacio 8, Rivera 7, Baliday 2, Padua 0.
PASAY (85) – Acidre 15, Gatchalian 14, Erice 11, Cahansa 9, Penaredondo 8, Solero 7, Macasil 7, J de la Cruz 5, Pervera 5, R de la Cruz 2, Padilla 2, Castaneda 0, Lizardo 0, Laxamana 0.
Period Scores: 14-13, 35-36, 62-56, 92-85.