PARANAQUE CITY – Colegio de San Lorenzo stretched its unblemished record further by grabbing Game One of the best-of-three semifinal series of the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCRUCLAA) at the expense of Rizal Technological University in overtime, 84-77, in continuing action Monday (March 20) at the Olivarez College Coliseum. The Griffins survived their toughest challenge to date thanks to big man Jun Gabriel who took over in the extra session.
The 6’6” Gabriel surprised the defense by hitting a top of the key triple with 49 seconds left to play and give San Lorenzo an unassailable 84-75 advantage. RTU nearly got blanked in the overtime save for a basket by Cyrus Tabi as the Blue Thunder lost steam after a big fight back to force the extension.
It was Tabi who sent the game into overtime with a long triple at the regulation buzzer, 75-75. Prior to that Charles Callano drained a pair of free throws off a Nichole Liquinan foul at the nine-second mark, 75-72, setting the stage for Tabi’s heroics.
Callano continued to thrive under the dribble drive offense of Coach Boni Garcia, rewarding his coach with a team-high 27 points. Gabriel was next chipping in 18 markers, including five in the overtime.
Tabi led RTU with 25 points. Kerr Bangeles was next with 14 while Jonathan Boholano added 12 markers.
San Lorenzo will now go for a seat in the championship series in Game Two this March 22 (Wednesday) again at Olivarez. Should RTU come out victorious, the deciding Game Three will be on Friday (March 22) at the same venue.
How They Scored:
SAN LORENZO (84) – Callano 27, Gabriel 18, Formento 10, Vargas 8, Baldevia 8, Alvarado 7, Laman 5, Calizo 1, Gojar 0.
RIZAL TECH (77) – Tabi 25, Bangeles 14, Boholano 12, Liquinan 8, Riva 6, Estoce 4, Monghit 4, Senires 2, Reyes 2, Tilos 0.
Period Scores: 20-15, 39-35, 63-51, 75-75 (reg.), 84-77 (OT).