MANDALUYONG CITY – Michael de la Cruz shook off two defenders and hit a triple with 4.8 seconds left to push Enderun Colleges to the 80-79 escape against upset-conscious New Era University in continuing action from the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Rizal Technological University Gym Wednesday (September 21). In the ensuing play, Christian Errol Villar blocked the shot of Dexter Castillo at the buzzer to preserve the win and make the Titans the second squad to get its ninth victory after Our Lady of Fatima University.
Eliminated from this season’s title race, New Era patiently rallied from 13 points down just in the second period, 23-36, before an AJ Ramos steal led to two points plus a foul and bonus free throw giving them the lead for the first time in the game with 2:27 to go, 74-72. Wabo Kaptue scored Enderun’s next five points to take back the upper hand with 1:24 to play, 77-74.
Marc Cabacungan and Ramos answered back with two free throws each to restore the lead the New Era, 78-77, and 45 ticks to play. Richard Velchez then made a big defensive stop by blocking Mark Javen Gatdula, forcing the Titans to foul Joshua Bringas who could only halve his charities for more cushioning and just before the heroics of de la Cruz, 79-77.
De la Cruz was shooting the lights out since the first period and finished with 21 points from six triples. Kaptue followed with 15 points and nine rebounds in only 21 minutes of play
Ramos submitted 20 of his 26 points in the second half to go with eight assists. Richard Velchez came off the bench to add 12 points and seven rebounds.
How They Scored:
ENDERUN (80) – de la Cruz 21, Kaptue 15, Grilli 12, Gatdula 9, Villar 7, Nunez 6, Dungan 5, Vidal 5, Bernardo 0, Turingan 0.
NEW ERA (79) – Ramos 26, Velchez 12, Bringas 10, Castillo 10, Cabacungan 6, Asistio 6, Perez 3, Magkalas 2, Akindele 2, Kyrin 2, Reyes 0, Macaranas 0, Absin 0,
Period Scores: 18-12, 37-29, 55-52, 80-79.