MAKATI CITY – A swarming full-court defense did wonders as Saint Clare College of Caloocan held off an erratic Lyceum of Subic Bay, 80-70, in Game One of their best-of-three semifinal series for the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Seniors Basketball crown at the Makati Coliseum Thursday (October 6). The Saints managed to convert the Sharks’ 25 turnovers into 29 points as they broke away in the third period and never looked back.
Paeng Rebugio led the Saints’ third period romp with eight of his game-high 20 points on top of three steals and three assists. From an unstable 46-43 lead at the halftime break, the Saints’ margin ballooned to 11 markers entering the fourth period, 66-55.
The Saints were not yet done as center Steve Fongue bucked foul trouble to perform a good job of containing fellow Cameroonian Fabrice Siewe. Fongue also excelled on offense by hitting back-to-back baskets that gave Saint Clare its biggest lead of the game, 70-56, and 7:30 to play.
Fongue would later complete a three-point play off Siewe to finish with 13 points, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Overall, Saint Clare ruled the defensive statistics with more steals (14-9) and blocks (8-5) while limiting the Sharks to a poor 27 of 71 shooting clip.
Carl Michael Lumbao had a hot start for Lyceum with 13 points in the first half but was then held to a lone basket early in the fourth period for a total of 15 points. Siewe had his usual numbers of 14 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks but lacked support from the rest of the team.
Clearly, the team of Coach Jino Manansala managed to shake off the rust from a nine-day break since ending their elimination round schedule last September 27 with a 75-77 loss to Colegio de San Lorenzo that denied them the top seeding. On the other hand, the Sharks of Coach Kerwin McCoy seemed spent after going through three straight do or die games that saw them eliminate Manuel L. Quezon University and Philippine Merchant Marine School.
The Saints will now go for a spot in the championship series this Saturday (October 8) at the Rizal Technological University Gym starting at 4:00 PM. Should the Sharks recover and win Game Two, the deciding third game will be on Sunday (October 9) at the same venue.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (80) – Rebugio 20, Fongue 13, Santos 10, Palencia 8, Rios 8, Dionisio 8, de Leon 7, Hallare 2, Puspus 2, Managuelod 2.
LYCEUM OF SUBIC BAY (70) – Lumbao 15, Siewe 14, Pelaez 10, Fomera 9, Timpog 7, del Rosario 6, Jacaban 3, Saludo 2, Santos 2, Hansen 2, Alcantara 0, Castillo 0, Falaminiano 0, Macatlang 0.
Period Scores:22-22, 46-43, 66-55, 80-70.