MANDALUYONG CITY – Colegio de San Lorenzo denied Saint Clare College of Caloocan the top playoff seed of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Seniors Division after the Griffins upset the Saints, 77-75, on the final elimination round game held Tuesday (September 27) at the Rizal Technological University Gym. With the development, Our Lady of Fatima University clinched the top seeding with an unmatched 10-3 win-loss record.
A scramble for the ball at midcourt resulted in a jumpball between Saint Clare’s Paeng Rebugio and CDSL’s Charles Callano, who replaced the suddenly injured JC Foronda. The referees had to repeat the jump three times before the tap went to King Astrero who drove to the hoop and fished the final foul of Steve Fongue, giving the Griffins the lead with 36 seconds left via two free throws, 76-75.
The Saints sued for time but Jun Gabriel stepped up on defense by blocking the attempt of Mark Puspus, leading to another jump between Saint Jordan Rios and Griffin Irvin Ancheta. The ball found its way to Callano who was quickly fouled by Rebugio and deemed a deliberate foul by the officials.
Callano made only one free throw but possession remained with San Lorenzo. Coach Boni Garcia called a timeout and when play resumed, they just dribbled the game’s final six seconds away for their sixth win against seven defeats.
Gabriel ended his season with another stellar performance of 27 points and seven rebounds. Astrero followed with 18 points and five assists.
Our Lady of Fatima 10-3
Saint Clare 9-4
Lyceum of Subic Bay 9-4
De Ocampo Memorial 8-5
Philippine Christian 7-6
Manuel L. Quezon 7-6
Rizal Technological 7-6
San Lorenzo 6-7
New Era 2-11
Rojay Santos came off the bench to fire five triples for 21 points for the Saints. Aris Dionisio also came in as a substitute to put in 14 points and 13 rebounds while starter Rebugio also had 14 points on top of nine rebounds and seven assists.
Saint Clare finished with a 9-4 win-loss card in a quadruple tie with Philippine Merchant Marine School, Enderun Colleges and Lyceum of Subic Bay. However, the Saints still retained the second seed by virtue of their superior quotient.
It will be a milestone of sorts for the Phoenix as it marks the first time that they topped the Seniors elimination round since joining the NAASCU in 2009. The Antipolo City-based school already has one Juniors Division title won in 2010 and would like to add a Seniors trophy to their collection.
How They Scored:
SAN LORENZO (77) – Gabriel 26, Astrero 18, Alvarado 11, Foronda 10, Ancheta 3, Callano 3, Laman 2, Borja 2, Vargas 2, Baldevia 0, Ajero 0.
SAINT CLARE (75) – Santos 21, Rebugio 14, Dionisio 14, Fuentes 9, Puspus 6, Rios 6, Fongue 3, Hallare 2, Palencia 0, Managuelod 0.
Period Scores: 17-15, 38-35, 58-64, 77-75.