MAKATI CITY – Joseph Marquez shook off the effects of a shoulder injury in the first half as he keyed the major victory of Our Lady of Fatima University over Enderun Colleges, 80-78, in a battle of league leaders of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Makati Coliseum Friday (September 23). Marquez scored four points in the final two minutes to close their schedule at 10-3 and provisional solo leadership of the 14-team field.
Marquez started his heroics with two free throws which was immediately followed by a steal and easy layup for Miguel Bryan Cabrera that restored the lead to the Phoenix for good with 1:48 to play, 77-76. Marquez then padded the lead with a field goal at the 1:40 mark, 79-76.
The Phoenix then sent fouled Mark Joseph Nunez while attempting a triple with 14 seconds remaining and the usually steady guard made the first two but missed his third shot that could have tied the game. The loose ball found its way to the hands of Cabrera who was then fouled and split his charities with five seconds to play.
After a timeout, the Titans had a chance to reverse the outcome but Wabo Kaptue mishandled the ball and the Phoenix simply hurled the ball into their end of the court as the buzzer sounded. The Titans fell to 9-3 with one more game left against streaking Philippine Merchant Marine School.
Marquez was adjudged as Best Player with 14 points and five rebounds with his performance at crunch time sealing the deal. Emil Japzon hit five triples to pace Fatima with 15 points, the same total as Jerome Juanico who also had 15 points.
“We are not celebrating yet,” said Coach Ralph Emerson Rivera. “The other teams have yet to complete their schedules so we will see what happens next.”
Kaptue was the high man for Enderun with 19 points and 15 rebounds but his final error cost them the game. Joshua Grilli was next with 17 points on perfect three for three shooting from the three-point line.
How They Scored:
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (80) – Juanico 15, Japzon 15, Cabrera 14, Marquez 14, Bargola 6, Pedrosa 6, Datu 6, Perea 2, Jimenez 2, Albano 0, Essomba 0.
ENDERUN (78) – Kaptue 19, Grilli 17, Vidal 11, de la Cruz 9, Nunez 8, Villar 8, Gatdula 6, Dungan 0, Turingan 0.
Period Scores: 15-16, 36-33, 56-52, 80-78.