QUEZON CITY – Top seed Saint Dominic Savio College clinched the first championship slot for the Eighth Universities, Colleges and Schools Athletic Association (UCSAA) by downing a very tough College of Saint John Paul II, 76-72, in semifinal action Monday at the PhilAm Homes Clubhouse. The Unicorns will have to wait for their opponent after defending champion ICCT Colleges extended their series with Pasig Catholic College into a winner take all match this Wednesday at the same venue, 85-82.
Entering the game on a nine-game winning run, the Unicorns’ record was endangered as the Cainta-based Mighty Lions were well in control of the contest through three periods, 54-53, behind the hot scoring of Rannie Raymunod and Lanz Patrick Cruz. That all changed when veteran Christian Diaz took over and scored nine of his 12 points in the deciding fourth period to turn the tide in the Unicorns’ favor.
Jim Dexter Tenedero ably supported Diaz with six of his team-high 15 points in the fourth. Vin Bryant Sus also added 12 points to stretch their winning run to 10 games, the only loss coming at the hands of ICCT during opening day last August 31 at the Ynares Sports Arena, 74-85.
In the first game, reigning UCSAA Most Valuable Player Ernest Oduca fired an incredible 19 of his 38 points in the fourth while getting ample support from Ariel Fajardo who popped in nine of his 15 in the same period to let the Blue Dragons live another day. The slippery Oduca engaged Crusader Marc Lester Tamayo in a scoring war with the big man banging 20 of his 31 points.
In the Juniors Division, defending champion First City Providential College booked a return trip to the finals by routing Saint Therese School of Novaliches, 98-51. They will also have to wait for their opponent after the third seed Junior Unicorns forced a rubber match with the second seed Junior Crusaders, 77-64.
How They Scored:
I C C T (85) – Oduca 38, Fajardo 15, Descarga 9, Morante 8, Icaro 7, Tuazon 6, Leal 2, Trinidad 0, de Leon 0.
PASIG CATHOLIC (82) – Tamayo 31, Chavenia 17, Benedictos 15, Samonte 7, Salen 5, Roxas 2, Llorca 2, Canon 2.
Period Scores: 15-24, 30-37, 53-48, 85-82.
SAINT DOMINIC SAVIO (76) – Tenedero 15, Sus 12, Diaz 12, Arellano 9, Ledama 6, Duenas 5, Dionisio 4, de Leon 4, Feudo 3, Calugay 2, Porras 2, Briones 2, Odrunia 0.
SAINT JOHN PAUL II (72) – Raymundo 29, Cruz 22, Olea 7, Magat 6, Padullon 4, Brusola 2, Jo Balena 2, Villar 0, Naval 0, Cuenca 0, Je Balena 0.
Period Scores: 15-13, 33-39, 53-54, 76-72.