MANDALUYONG CITY – Cyrus Tabi hit a miraculous running floater against the waiting defense of 6’9” Fabrice Siewe at the buzzer to power Rizal Technological University’s pulsating 83-82 escape over Lyceum of Subic Bay at the RTU Gym Friday (September 16) in continuing play from the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) basketball tournament. Capitalizing on a crucial defensive stop but with no timeouts left, Tabi dribbled the length of the court and released the ball just as he crossed the three-point line for the game winner.
“I just wanted to get an open shot after receiving the ball from Storm Riva,” said Tabi. “But when I saw the defense in front of me, I just threw up a lob and luckily it went in.”
Trailing at the start of the fourth period and cheered loudly by the home fans, the Blue Thunder rallied with Tabi eventually nailing a triple that gave them the lead with 5:16 to play, 76-74. The Sharks countered with Ian Castillo hitting his own three to restore the upper hand at the 3:11 mark, 80-78.
Tabi hit a field goal and Kevin Pelaez and Kerr Bangeles then traded free throw splits to keep the count knotted at 81-81. Siewe then put Lyceum on top for the last time with a free throw, 82-81, and 1:23 play which was then followed by both teams trading errors and botched plays until Tabi’s heroics.
The win made the Blue Thunder the third team to notch its seventh victory but with four losses places them provisionally at Fifth Place in the 14-team field. RTU’s remaining games are against Philippine Merchant Marine School and Manuel L. Quezon University.
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Sharks that led for a good majority of the contest, at one point leading by as high as 13 points in the third canto, 64-51. They tumbled down all the way to Sixth Place with back-to-back losses and a 5-3 win-loss card.
Tabi was the hands down choice as Best Player with 29 points, nine rebounds and six steals. He drew a lot of help from Kerr Bangeles with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Kevin Pelaez led the Sharks with 15 points and seven rebounds but his three out of six shooting from the free throw line in the fourth period greatly affected their chances. Siewe frolicked inside to register 14 points, 22 rebounds and eight blocks while Allen Fomera also had 14 points and six assists.
How They Scored:
RIZAL TECHNOLOGICAL (83) – Tabi 29, Bangeles 21, Estoce 10, Flores 6, Tilos 5, Asuncion 4, Liquinan 3, Senires 2, Riva 2, Monghit 0, Lagman 0, Reyes 0, Saborrido 0.
LYCEUM OF SUBIC BAY (82) – Pelaez 15, Fomera 14, Siewe 14, Lumbao 12, del Rosario 8, Castillo 8, San Luis 6, Saludo 3, Jacaban 2, Alcantara 0, Timpog 0, Santos 0, Falaminiano 0.
Period Scores: 21-23, 45-50, 64-70, 83-82.