QUEZON CITY – Saint Francis of Assisi College picked up positive momentum entering next week’s quarterfinal round by trouncing Philippine State College of Aeronautics, 89-63, in their final elimination round game of the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCRUCLAA) Basketball games at the Colegio de San Lorenzo Gym Friday (March 3). Already assured of Second Place in Group B regardless of the result, the Doves still gave it a full effort and send the Iron Eagles further down the rankings and in danger of missing the playoffs.
John Michael Cruz joined hands with Paulo Castro and Chris Lalata in the pivotal third period as they combined for 17 of the Doves’ 27 points, including a crippling 9-0 run midway that pegged the count at 54-37. PhilSCA starting center Jay Gumban fouled out in the third thus allowing the Saint Francis big men to frolic underneath the basket.
Comfortably ahead, Coach Gabby Velasco then fielded his role player but kept Cruz who responded by knocking in eight more points in the fourth. The now 6-1 Doves are set to tangle with Group A third placer PATTS College of Aeronautics (5-2) in the knockout quarterfinals.
Cruz notched a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Castro did not score anymore in the final canto but still finished with 13 points.
Rodelle Bilar carried the fight for the Iron Eagles with 16 followed by Arvin Patricio with 15. At 3-4, PhilSCA now hopes that National College of Business and Arts (2-4) defeats De La Salle University-Dasmarinas (3-3) in order to force a triple tie amongst them for the last Group B playoff berth with the quotient currently favoring the Iron Eagles.
How They Scored:
SAINT FRANCIS (89) – Cruz 21, Castro 13, Lalata 11, Lanoy 9, Chu 7, Parcero 7, Manzanilla 4, Cenita 4, Guevarra 4, Ceguerra 3, Ramos 2, Derama 2, Cristobal 1.
PHILSCA (63) – Bilar 16, Patricio 15, Cardinoza 9, Jimenez 8, Gumban 5, Capricho 4, Evangelista 4, Llaneta 2.
Period Scores: 21-17, 39-33, 66-50, 89-63.