QUEZON CITY – It will be Saint Francis of Assisi College versus Emilio Aguinaldo College-Immaculate Conception Academy for the championship of the 26th National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) Juniors Basketball after they eliminated their respective semifinal opponents Monday at the National College of Business and Arts Gym in Fairview. SFAC inflicted the first defeat on Lyceum of the Philippines University-Laguna, 93-80, while EAC-ICA continued to flash their lethal form over home team NCBA, 114-88, and stay undefeated in six games.
John Matthew Santos was his usual prolific self as he torched the Junior Pirates from all angles for a game-high 36 points, including 11 in each of the latter two periods. He got a lot of help from John Razen Serdon who was just as sizzling with 28 points and seldom-used big boy Eden Trinidad with a surprise 12-point performance highlighted by buzzer beaters at the close of the second and third periods.
The Junior Doves took advantage of the sudden absence of LPU key players Jan Derick Villarez due to foul trouble and Lean Benedict Acosta due to injury. Santos was joined by Serdon and Michael Angelo David in a critical 10-2 run in the third that gave them the lead for good, 55-49.
In the second game, playing on the road meant nothing to the visitors as they used their height and heft advantage to the max. The best that the Junior Wildcats could do was tie the count at 12-12 and it was the Brigadiers’ show from thereon with every player fielded by Coach Dennis Rasing contributing.
Cymoneil Quirap paced the winners with 20 points. Jolo Sumagaysay came off the bench to put in 19 and cement his status as the team’s scoring leader while Francis Sollestre chipped in 16.
The championship game will be played on Wednesday (April 24) at Pasig Catholic College. SFAC and EAC-ICA met in the elimination round last April 4 at the same venue with the latter prevailing, 89-83.
How They Scored:
SAINT FRANCIS (93) – Santos 36, Serdon 28, Trinidad 12, David 7, Paglinawan 4, Merciales 4, Victoriano 1, Donis 1, Arqueza 0, Balido 0, Yan 0.
LYCEUM-LAGUNA (80) – Solisa 30, Rodriguez 23, Villarez 10, Geneciran 5, Aragones 4, Danta 4, Gupo 2, Acosta 2, Cacas 0, Agustin 0.
Period Scores: 19-20, 39-37, 66-61, 93-80.
ICA-EAC (114) – Quirap 20, Sumagaysay 19, Sollestre 16, Simpelo 11, Guinto 11, Quebral 10, Uson 8, Lozano 8, Santiago 6, Murillo 3, Avila 2, Pascual 0, Tan 0.
N C B A (88) – Verbo 29, Nebre 16, G Reyes 11, Ozarraga 6, Sayson 6, Dado 5, Villas 5, Beljera 3, Luceno 3, Elli 2, Casihan 2, Tica 0, C Reyes 0.
Period Scores: 26-19, 56-33, 82-62, 114-88.