MAKATI CITY – It will be Saint Clare College of Caloocan and AMA University colliding for the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Juniors Division championship after the conclusion of the semifinal games Monday (October 3) at the Makati Coliseum. The Junior Saints survived a late rally from Rizal Technological University, 91-82, while the Junior Titans came from behind to frustrate Our Lady of Fatima University, 80-70.
OLFU used a quick 9-0 start and controlled majority of the contest but the Junior Titans silently rallied before finally tasting the lead for the first time on a triple by Karl Bautista with three minutes left in the third period, 48-47. While the Junior Phoenix recovered their bearings to grab back the lead entering the fourth, back-to-back baskets by Javine Serrano and Bautista gave AMA the lead for good with 7:55 to play, 61-58.
The Junior Phoenix never recovered as Kerby Escoto connected to a pair of triples as part of a 10-0 run that gave the Junior Titans a commanding 71-60 lead with less than four minutes to play. From there, AMA coasted to the win with Escoto, Bautista and Juan Carlo Garcia hitting their free throws.
Garcia paced the Junior Titans with 22 points. Escoto followed with 15 and Bautista added 14.
In the second game, the Junior Saints threatened to blow the game wide open behind to hot shooting of Mark Christian Yu, Jerico San Diego and Morgan de Guzman and leading at the half, 54-30. However, the Junior Thunder mounted a big comeback in the third period with Jonathan Boholano and Philip Redondo hitting seven markers each.
RTU came to their closest on a basket by Noy Pragoso with 4:30 to play, 77-83. However, the fire was quickly extinguished by consecutive field goals by Arnie Alejandro and Yu that restored their double digit lead, 87-77.
Yu paced the Junior Saints with 22 points. He was supported by Raymart Lumabas with 15 points, hitting a triple in each of the four periods.
Game One of the best-of-three title series will be on Thursday (October 6) at the Makati Coliseum. RTU will host Game Two on October 8 and if needed, Game Three the following day.
How They Scored:
A M A (80) – Garcia 22, Escoto 15, Bautista 14, J Serrano 10, H Serrano 6, Rivera 5, Altamirano 4, Barde 4, Fortuna 0, Ferrer 0.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (70) – Hoyohoy 21, Panganiban 14, Lumbera 9, Eugenio 7, Manzo 7, Resano 6, Clarion 4, Alarcon 2, Abila 0, Dalupang 0, Soguilon 0, Lansang 0.
Period Scores: 17-26, 35-41, 55-56, 80-70.
SAINT CLARE (91) – Yu 22, Lumabas 15, Alejandro 12, San Diego 10, de Guzman 10, Casin 10, Torraneo 9, Reyes 2, Fontanilla 0, Victoriano 0.
RIZAL TECHNOLOGICAL (82) – Boholano 29, Pragoso 13, Redondo 13, Magno 7, Badong 7, Haboc 6, Visaya 5, Guting 2, Delo 0, Aseo 0.
Period Scores: 26-14, 54-30, 72-59, 91-82.