MANDALUYONG CITY – Playing with their season on the line, Philippine Christian University summoned all its strengths to halt top seed Our Lady of Fatima University, 84-63, and force a knockout game for a championship spot in the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Rizal Technological University Gym Saturday (October 8). High-scoring forwards Von Tambeling and Michael Ayonayon literally took over to level the best-of-three series, 1-1.
Tambeling scored the last nine points of the third period as part of their 11-0 run to give the Dolphins a solid 68-52 advantage entering the final period. Emil Japzon opened hostilities in the fourth with a triple but PCU quickly answered with team captain Fidel Castro and Tambeling hitting back-to-back triples and Yves Sazon banking two baskets to erect their biggest lead of the game, 78-55.
The best that the Phoenix could do was cut the gap to 17 markers, 61-78, but the Dolphins made sure it would stay at that. Ayonayon assisted Andro Catipay for a basket and then followed it up with two more points of his own as PCU cemented its grip on the victory with a minute and change remaining, 82-61.
Tambeling led all scorers with 26 points and six rebounds. Ayonayon was not far behind with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Sazon recovered from his below par performance in Game One to scatter 14 points on top of seven rebounds.
Joseph Marquez topped the Phoenix with 12. Japzon came off the bench to hit three triples for 11 points.
Our Lady of Fatima took the series opener, 80-70, last October 6 (Thursday) at the Makati Coliseum. Game Three will be on October 9 (Sunday) at the RTU Gym starting at 1:00 PM.
How They Scored:
PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN (84) – Tambeling 26, Ayonayon 24, Sazon 14, Vasquez 6, Palattao 4, Mescallado 4, Castro 3, Catipay 2, Yasa 1, Abrigo 0, Malto 0, Bautista 0, Galit 0.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (63) – Marquez 12, Japzon 11, Cabrera 8, Datu 8, Essomba 8, Albano 5, Jimenez 3, Perea 2, Bargola 2, Juanico 2, Penafiel 2, Pedrosa 0, Gozum 0, Bacay 0.
Period Scores: 19-19, 45-38, 68-52, 84-63.