MAKATI CITY – Saint Clare College of Caloocan found a hero in Arnie Alejandro as he tipped in a miss by Raymart Lumabas with a second left for the pulsating 74-72 victory over AMA University to force a winner-take-all Game Three for the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Makati Coliseum Thursday (October 13). Game Three will be played at the same venue on October 15 (Friday) at 11:00 AM.
Alejandro’s heroics were not limited to the final play as he earlier tipped in another missed Lumabas triple with 47 seconds left and in the process drawing the fifth and final foul on AMA stalwart Camillus Altamirano. He missed the bonus free throw but it was enough to put the Junior Saints ahead, 72-70.
Karl Bautista then drove strong to the basket to tie the game with five seconds to go and set the stage for the wild finish. Alejandro ended up with six of his eight points made in the fourth period on top of eight rebounds and three assists for Best Player honors.
Despite all the misses in crunch time, Lumabas still led the Junior Saints with 16 points on four of 23 shooting from the field. Paul Hendrix Casin was next with 10 points and five rebounds.
Javine Serrano notched a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds but the effort went to naught. Altamirano followed with 16 points and five rebounds.
The Junior Titans took the series opener in convincing fashion, 91-77, last Tuesday (October 11). After scoring 31 in Game One, AMA’s Juan Carlo Garcia was limited to only 11 markers while going scoreless in the final period.
AMA will again attempt to take home the championship but they will be missing head coach Mark Herrera and assistant Edwin Ancheta after they confronted the referees after the final buzzer, prompting Deputy Commissioner Igmidio Cahanding Jr. to suspend the duo. Meanwhile, Coach Jino Manansala will try to reclaim the title the Junior Saints last won in the 2014 under the guidance then of his younger brother Coach JR Manansala, now the head coach of Manuel L. Quezon University.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (74) – Lumabas 16, Casin 10, San Diego 9, Torraneo 8, Alejandro 8, Fontanilla 8, Reyes 6, Yu 6, de Guzman 3, Mesina 0.
A M A (72) – J Serrano 19, Altamirano 16, Bautista 14, Garcia 11, Barde 10, H Serrano 2, Rivera 0, Reforma 0, Escoto 0, Fortuna 0.
Period Scores: 24-18, 43-43, 56-58, 74-72.