MAKATI CITY – Saint Clare College of Caloocan officially bagged the 16th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) after subduing AMA University, 74-62, at the conclusion of Game Three Friday (October 14) at the Makati Coliseum. The win marks the school’s second trophy in the last three seasons for players aged 19 years and under.
Inspired from their 74-72 victory at the buzzer in Game Two the day earlier, Saint Clare quickly buckled down to business and looked to seal the outcome early. Arnie Alejandro, the hero of Game Two, continued his good plays in combination with Mark Christian Yu and Joshua Fontanilla to give the Junior Saints the first period, 20-13.
Both schools played the crucial game without their head coaches – Jino Manansala opted to rest in order to focus on the Seniors team as they play their own Game Three against Our Lady of Fatima University later in the day while Mark Herrera was suspended for confronting the referees at the end of Game Two. Taking their places were Tonton Sangco for Saint Clare and Benjie Diswe for AMA.
The Junior Titans managed to slightly threaten a few times but the Junior Saints always had a ready response. Jerico San Diego, the only remnant from last season’s roster, fittingly gave Saint Clare its biggest lead of the game with 5:49 to play, 68-52.
Yu led the Saints’ charge with 18 points followed by Alejandro with 16 points and eight rebounds. San Diego had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Camillus Altamirano ended his Juniors Division career with a team-high 17 points. Javine Serrano was next with a double-double of 14 points and 19 rebounds.
In the awarding ceremonies immediately after the game, Yu was named as the season’s Most Valuable Player. Joining him in the Mythical Five was teammate Raymart Lumabas, Serrano, Jack Hoyohoy of Our Lady of Fatima and Jonathan Boholano of Rizal Technological University.
AMA’s Karl Bautista was chosen as Rookie of the Year while Coach Manansala was named as Best Coach. This marks the second NAASCU Juniors title for Coach Manansala after he steered the University of Manila to the crown in 2011.
Other members of the champion team are Danfel Reyes, Jericho Torraneo, Aldrei Lacap, Morgan de Guzman, Richard Victoriano, Paul Hendrix Casin, Patrick Falo, Ronoel Mesina, Vincent Olivas and Kristan Hernandez. As it stands, a dynasty is possible with all players except San Diego eligible to return next year for their title defense.
How They Scored:
SAINT CLARE (74) – Yu 18, Alejandro 16, San Diego 10, Fontanilla 9, Lumabas 8, Casin 5, Reyes 4, de Guzman 4, Torraneo 0.
A M A (62) – Altamirano 17, J Serrano 14, Barde 6, Garcia 6, Rivera 6, Escoto 5, Bautista 5, H Serrano 3, Lumague 0, Reforma 0, Mendoza 0, Cailles 0, Ferrer 0, Fortuna 0, Macaranas 0.
Period Scores: 20-13, 41-37, 60-48, 74-62.