MAKATI CITY – Colegio de San Lorenzo is the very first Seniors Basketball champions of the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCRUCLAA). The Griffins made history by taking care of a fighting and game De Ocampo Memorial College, 98-82, in Game Three of their best-of-three series at the Makati Coliseum Friday morning (March 31).
Center Jun Gabriel essayed a performance that solidified his grip on the Most Valuable Player award, with the 6’6” beanpole from Tarlac scoring 10 of his team-high 34 points in the pivotal third period. Trailing at the halftime break, 54-56, Charles Callano and Rick Argie Baldevia combined for the second half’s first six points to give the Griffins the lead for the first time and they never looked back.
That was the cue for Gabriel to go to work and continue from his excellent first half as he keyed CDSL’s breakaway. Earlier, he was responsible for keeping the Griffins in the contest amidst the Cobras’ fiery start led by Dahrrel Caranguian and Peter Marc Manalang.
Fuelled by a combination of heart and adrenaline, DOMC jumped out of the starting blocks by posting a 20-5 advantage. But as the game progressed, the Cobras’ manpower shortage began to manifest allowing the Griffins to inch closer.
Already without suspended forward Igi Boy Sabasaje, the Cobras received more bad news the day earlier as forward Jhonard Clarito was diagnosed with a shoulder injury sustained during Game Two last March 29 which CDSL won to level to force the rubber match, 89-78. With Gabriel humming on all cylinders, his play rubbed on to his teammates as they further stretched their lead leaving the Cobras searching for answers.
Callano played the role of court general setting up Jan Dominic Formento, King Astrero and Baldevia for easy scores. Gabriel remained their anchor as he ate up all the defenses thrown at him by the much shorter Cobras.
Formento backed up Gabriel with 15 points. Baldevia, Callano and Astrero all hit double digits combining for 50 markers.
Caranguian tried his best to fill the void left by his absent teammates by scattering 26 points in the first half but lost steam in the second half to end up with 34 points. Manalang was the only other Cobra in double figures with 15, 11 made in the second period, but was held to only two free throws in the second half.
Joining Gabriel in the Mythical Five were Caranguian, Callano, Clarito and John Paul Manansala of PATTS College of Aeronautics. Manansala and PATTS took Third Place by winning their one-game playoff with Rizal Technological University, 96-74, last March 27.
Champion coach Boni Garcia received the trophy from NCRUCLAA Commissioner Arturo Cristobal and witnessed by Board Members Coach Luis Monfort of Saint Francis of Assisi College, Coach Benjie Hernandez of PATTS and Harlem Ruiz of Philippine Merchant Marine School. Other members of the champion squad are Rich Marticio, Louie Vargas, James Alvarado, Zio Calizo, Stephen Jimenez, Kurt Gojar and Thristan Laman, who nailed a triple at the first period buzzer that ignited CDSL’s slow but steady comeback.
How They Scored:
SAN LORENZO (98) – Gabriel 34, Formento 15, Baldevia 13, Callano 12, Astrero 10, Vargas 6, Alvarado 5, Laman 3, Calizo 0, Gojar 0.
DE OCAMPO (82) – Caranguian 34, Manalang 15, Pascual 8, Canelas 8, Lescano 5, Gallardo 4, de la Cruz 4, Montojo 2, Atabay 2, Ramos 0, Miasco 0, Fabro 0.
Period Scores: 26-29, 54-56, 80-66, 98-82.