MAKATI CITY – Despite losing badly in Game One, Our Lady of Fatima University stuck to their strategy and prevailed in Game Two over Saint Clare College of Caloocan, 64-45, and tie up the championship series of the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) at the Makati Coliseum Thursday (October 13). Both squads will now have less than 24 hours to recover and prepare as the rubber match is set Friday (October 14) at 2:00 PM at the same venue.
“We did not change our game plan but this time we played smart basketball,” said winning coach Ralph Emerson Rivera. Team captain Joseph Marquez was left to do almost all the work in Game One but this time he got more than enough help.
Limited to only two points in the series opener, John Rovin Datu quickly scattered seven points in the first period to complement the eight from Marquez as the Phoenix jumped to a 20-9 lead. The Saints’ shooting woes continued as Fatima was well in control by halftime, 36-19.
Saint Clare continued to fire blanks especially from the three-point line. Before they knew it, the Phoenix were already ahead by 23 markers, 61-38, with three minutes to play.
Datu churned out a performance worthy of royalty and the Best Player award with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Marquez and Emil Japzon also had 14 points while Christophe Essomba shrugged off a knee injury in Game One to submit seven blocks, nine rebounds and two steals to underscore the Fatima defense.
The win came at a cost as Japzon was ejected with 3:06 left in the game for incurring a second technical foul for taunting the Saint Clare bench after he sank his fourth triple to give the Phoenix a 60-38 lead. Earlier in the third period, Japzon was slapped his first technical for extending his foot towards a driving Paeng Rebugio.
No Saint scored in twin digits with Rebugio the high man with nine points and six rebounds. Irven Palencia followed with seven points off the bench.
Overall, Saint Clare shot 12 of 71 from the field including one out of 20 from three-point distance. In contrast, the Phoenix shot 24 of 60 and made seven triples.
How They Scored:
FATIMA (64) – Marquez 14, Datu 14, Japzon 14, Bargola 8, Cabrera 3, Albano 3, Pedrosa 3, Essomba 3, Juanico 2, Perea 0.
SAINT CLARE (45) – Rebugio 9, Palencia 7, Fongue 6, Dionisio 5, de Mesa 4, Rios 4, Santos 3, de Leon 2, Puspus 2, Managuelod 2, Hallare 1, Fuentes 0.
Period Scores: 20-9, 36-19, 52-32, 64-45.