PARANAQUE CITY – Olivarez College booked the second and last slot in the championship series of the 25th Sta. Lucia Land National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) by outlasting Philippine Merchant Marine School, 68-60, in Final Four action Tuesday at PATTS College of Aeronautics. The Sea Lions will now play De Ocampo Memorial College which advanced hours earlier via a 108-106 clipping of AMA University.
The Sea Lions charged ahead at the opening tip and never looked back, leading by as much as 15 markers midway through the third period, 48-33. However, the Mariners countered by scoring the last six of the third and first seven of the fourth to threaten with 6:56 to play, 53-55.
Sensing danger, Coach Michael Saguiguit called a timeout and that paved the way for Vinny Begaso and Noy Bermudes to star in a 9-0 run and restore their double-digit lead, 64-53. PMMS refused to give up and continued to rally but timely baskets by John Uduba and Begaso and a defensive stop by Best Player Jayboy Solis preserved the victory.
“We have the height advantage as a team that’s why I changed my game today and played more inside,” said Solis. “It’s been some time since the school won a championship so we will work hard to bring one to the community.”
Known for preferring to shoot from the perimeter, Solis this time mixed it up underneath the basket to score nine of his 14 points in the third period to cue their breakaway on top of 10 rebounds. Begaso submitted a similar stat line but made eight of his points in the fourth to repel the Mariners’ rallies.
Bryan Hilario paced the Mariners with 22 points and eight rebounds as they saw their seven-game winning streak come to a halt. Richmond Gilbero was next with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The best of three NCRAA championship series will commence this Friday at PATTS. The Sea Lions suffered their only loss of the season courtesy of the Cobras, 92-102, last February 13 and are surely itching for payback.
How They Scored:
OLIVAREZ (68) – Begaso 14, Solis 14, Bermudes 11, Saguiguit 11, Uduba 8, Sala 4, Andico 2, Prado 2, Geronimo 2, Navarro 0, Sunga 0, Almajeda 0.
PMMS (60) – Hilario 22, Gilbero 15, Sunga 9, Attas 6, Manatad 6, Stevens 1, Bautista 1, Briones 0, Gregorio 0, Palomares 0, Mascardo 0, Lira 0.
Period Scores: 22-14, 34-31, 55-46, 68-60.