MANDALUYONG CITY – Survival instincts manifested big time for De Ocampo Memorial College as they tripped Manuel L. Quezon University, 73-65, on the penultimate playing date of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Sunday (September 25) at the Rizal Technological University Gym. The now 8-5 Cobras needed no less than a win over the Stallions in order to avoid falling into a three-way tie with RTU and Philippine Christian at 7-6 that would have booted them out of the playoffs due to an inferior quotient.
Up next for the solo Sixth Place Cobras in the one-game knockout First Round are the Seventh Place PCU Dolphins, losers in overtime a few hours earlier to the also ran City University of Pasay, 87-93. The Dolphins beat the Cobras in their elimination round encounter last September 11 at RTU, 94-86, despite Dahrell Caranguian hitting 45 points.
Against the Stallions, Caranguian did not have to score as much as he had a lot of help from his teammates in controlling the game from the starting tip. DOMC proceeded to lead by as much as 28 points, 55-27, in the third period and kept enough energy to repel a late MLQU rally that trimmed the final deficit.
Redel Fabro starred for the Cobras with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Caranguian was next with 13 points.
MLQU entered the game with a big handicap after ace forward Nikko Lao was suspended by the NAASCU Board for the remainder of the season for playing in an unauthorized tournament while the season was ongoing. In his absence, Gianne Rivera led the Stallions with 14 points while Ronnie Pangan added 11 as scoring machine Christopher Bitoon struggled with only nine markers.
Watching with keen interest from the stands was RTU star Cyrus Tabi as their team had hoped for a Stallions triumph to give them a pass into the playoffs. MLQU was already guaranteed a playoff spot regardless of their result against DOMC.
How They Scored:
DE OCAMPO MEMORIAL (73) – Fabro 14, Caranguian 13, Wenceslao 11, de la Cruz 9, Sabasaje 5, Clarito 4, Gallardo 4, Manalang 4, Montojo 3, Macasling 2, Lescano 2, Ramos 2, Atabay 0.
MANUEL L. QUEZON (65) – Rivera 14, Pangan 11, Padua 9, Bitoon 9, de la Cruz 7, Mallari 6, Ignacio 4, Macalangcom 2, Baliday 2, Aurelio 1.
Period Scores: 19-12, 35-21, 60-37, 73-65.