MANDALUYONG CITY – City University of Pasay made sure that they would end their season on a high as they notched their second straight win at the expense of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, 80-79, on the final day of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) elimination round at the Rizal Technological University Gym Tuesday (September 27). It was a fitting close to an otherwise forgettable season and a good indication of a brighter future for the Eagles.
Veteran guard Janno Penaredondo provided the marginal point as he split his free throws off a Brian Hilario foul with three seconds remaining. A quick CUP foul temporarily stalled the EARIST offensive, with the ball eventually going to Andreas Cahilig who missed the potential game-winning layup at the buzzer.
Hilario hit a big triple to tie the game for the last time at the eight-second mark, 79-79, before fouling Penaredondo. The Eagles held a three-point lead with 17 seconds remaining, 79-76, after team captain Daniel Lewis Lizardo sank a free throw off a foul from Jervis Bandalan, ironically a former member of the CUP varsity.
“Only James Solero is graduating so we will still be an intact team next season,” said Coach Benedict Martin. “I have some possible recruits from the nearby provinces and some of our former players may opt to return to max their eligibility.”
Solero starred for the Eagles with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Game hero Penaredondo was next with 13 points, 10 coming in the second half.
The Eagles’ breakthrough victory comes on the heels of their 93-87 overtime conquest of playoff contender Philippine Christian University last September 25, the exact date of Solero’s 25th birthday. The two wins are the most for CUP since winning three games in the 14th NAASCU in 2014.
Cahilig again produced fantastic numbers of 23 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Tolits Natividad backed him up with 21 points as the Red Fox completed their NAASCU debut at the bottom of the 14-team pile with one win to show in 13 games.
How They Scored:
PASAY (80) – Solero 20, Penaredondo 13, Macasil 11, Padilla 8, Erice 6, Pervera 5, Lizardo 5, Acidre 5, Villagomez 4, J de la Cruz 3, Gatchalian 0, R de la Cruz 0.
E A R I S T (79) – Cahilig 23, Natividad 21, Hilario 11, Pancho 6, Cabalsi 6, del Rio 4, Bandalan 3, Llobrera 3, Joyo 2, Ramos 0, Galvez 0.
Period Scores: 10-11, 39-37, 56-55, 80-79.