PARANAQUE CITY – For the nth time, Dahrrel Caranguian bailed out De Ocampo Memorial College and this time it sent the Cobras into the best of three finals of the 25th Sta. Lucia Land National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) after they bested AMA University, 108-106, in Final Four action from PATTS College of Aeronautics Tuesday morning. Firing blanks in the first half, the prolific guard exploded when it matters the most as they slowly rallied from 11 points down early in the third period, 46-57.
Consecutive triples from Nino Macasling and Caranguian tied and then gave the lead to DOMC for good with 6:20 left in the ballgame, 91-88. Caranguian then linked with forward Redel Fabro, who missed the first period due to a wrong uniform, to give the Cobras an imposing eight-point cushion entering the final two minutes, 102-94.
AMA did not easily quit and clawed back behind Daniel Salonga, Owen Graham and Carlo Garcia and moved to within a point courtesy of a Garcia basket at the 11-second mark, 106-107. The Titans had no choice but to foul Caranguian who nearly turned goat by missing his two free throws but a bloodied and bandaged Jhonard Clarito came out of nowhere to snatch the offensive rebound, draw a foul and settle the final tally with a split.
Clarito missed majority of the second half after sustaining a huge cut on the forehead sometime in the third but returned in time to help seal the victory with 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Best Player citation. Caranguian and Macasling shared scoring honors for the Cobras with 26 points each.
Genmar Bragais paced the Titans with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists. Graham followed with 23 points and 20 rebounds.
The Cobras extended their winning streak to eight games dating back to the elimination round and will return to the finals after finishing runner-up to Colegio de San Lorenzo a season ago. They now await the winner of the other semifinal knockout game between Olivarez College and Philippine Merchant Marine School.
How They Scored:
DE OCAMPO (108) – Macasling 26, Caranguian 26, Clarito 22, Sabasaje 9, Fabro 8, Lescano 7, Pascual 6, M Atabay 2, de la Cruz 2, Gallardo 0, Manalang 0, Gutierrez 0, Ramos 0, Montojo 0, Wenceslao 0.
AMA (106) – Bragais 26, Graham 23, Salonga 21, Garcia 18, Celso 8, Alao 6, Barde 4, Castro 0, Quijano 0, Velasquez 0.
Period Scores: 25-26, 46-51, 79-82, 108-106.