QUEZON CITY – Top seed National College of Business and Arts took Game One of the best-of-three series for the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCRUCLAA) Juniors Basketball tournament over Saint Francis of Assisi College, 84-81, at the Colegio de San Lorenzo Gym Thursday morning (March 23). The Junior Wildcats can wrap up the championship in Game Two set for Tuesday (March 28) still at CDSL.
The wards of Coach Jhay Ocampo banked on a barrage of nine triples in the first half, including a midcourt heave at the first period buzzer, to threaten to blow away SFAC at halftime, 50-30. However, the Baby Doves refused to quit and slowly crept back in the contest via an improved second half performance.
Suddenly, Ian Pavia put SFAC to within a basket with 2:21 seconds remaining, 77-79. However, this was quickly silenced by a triple from Kenneth Cortez to give NCBA breathing space, 82-77.
Back-to-back baskets from Carlos Lucente and Carlos Ysmael III allowed the Baby Doves to threaten for the last time, 81-82, and 19 ticks on the game clock. Aeron Verbo then sank two crucial free throws for the final tally as Lucente missed a triple at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime.
Cortez led all scorers with 31 points. Verbo, Emmanuel Alarcon and Julius Kent Sta. Ana supported him with 12 markers apiece.
Jomar Ignacio paced the Baby Doves with 21 points. Lucente was next with 15 followed by John Ephraim Gay with 12.
Meanwhile, the EAC-Cavite Junior Vanguard salvaged Third Place by dominating the Olivarez College Junior Sea Lions, 89-78. The NCRUCLAA Juniors is exclusive for High School pupils aged 18 years and below.
How They Scored:
For Third Place
EAC-CAVITE (89) – Pazziuagan 28, Agoot 14, Camana 11, Diaz 8, Illustrisimo 8, Sullano 6, Adiao 6, Aguilar 4, Quebral 4, Anonuevo 0, Purganan 0, Salvador 0, Monghit 0.
OLIVAREZ (76) – Caber 22, Capulong 10, Diaz 9, Cabading 8, Bacalso 7, Prado 6, Sumugat 5, Gatbonton 5, Agcaoili 4, Consolacion 0, Serato 0.
Period Scores: 23-14, 45-32, 71-50, 89-76.
Championship Game One
N C B A (84) – Cortez 31, Alarcon 12, Verbo 12, Sta. Ana 12, Basilio 10, Robles 4, Aculana 3, Reyna 0, Beljera 0, Ramos 0, Ballad 0, Nebre 0, Reyes 0, Sayson 0.
SAINT FRANCIS (81) – Ignacio 21, Lucente 15, Gay 12, Santos 8, Pavia 7, Ysmael 7, Paglinawan 5, Baptista 2, David 2, Callao 2, Arqueza 0, Mangondato 0.
Period Scores: 23-15, 50-30, 67-54, 84-81.