Braves get better of Red Cubs in possible preview of Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 01, 2016 01:59 PM
Braves get better of Red Cubs in possible preview of Finals
FORCE TO RECKON WITH. With a win against seven-time champion San Beda, Arellano sent out a statement that they are now the team to beat in the NCAA Juniors.

TEAM STANDINGS
ARELLANO 8-0
SAN BEDA 7-1
MALAYAN 5-2
CSB-LSGH 4-3
LETRAN 4-4
LPU 4-4
PERPETUAL 4-4
JRU 2-6
SAN SEBASTIAN 1-7
EAC 0-8

Just like they were a year ago, Arellano High School is the reason for San Beda High School’s imperfection.

And this time in the 92nd Season of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament, they did not wait until the Finals to be so.

Guilmer Dela Torre and Lars Sunga brought the big baskets while rookie Aaron Fermin brought the big-time defense as the Braves topped the seven-time defending champion Red Cubs, 93-90, in an instant classic on Monday at the San Juan Arena.

The most-anticipated matchup of the season lived up to the billing and featured 11 ties and 21 lead changes. That much was expected after a year ago when Arellano denied San Beda a season sweep with a win in Game 2 of the Finals.

The two teams were still going at it inside the last two minutes before Addie Velasquez’ cold-blooded triple granted San Beda a two-point margin. However, Dela Torre was right there to answer for the Braves and made a scoop shot and its bonus to swing the advantage over to their side, 91-90.

Following a timeout, Prince Etrata got an opening to slash through the lane only to see his layup roll out. Sunga secured the rebound and then split his charities to increase the Arellano advantage to 92-90.

In the ensuing possession, Etrata found Sam Abu Hijleh underneath the basket, where he makes his living, but FermIn got on top of the ball for the emphatic rejection. Carlo Abadeza collared the rebound and made one of two free throws for a three-point Braves lead.

Still with time, Velasquez launched a heave near midcourt. The attempt had a good line, but fell way short to put a stamp on the Cubs’ first setback in the season.

Dela Torre ended with 28 points, all but six coming in the second half to go along with six rebounds while Sunga contributed 16 points, half coming in the final frame, as well as nine rebounds.

First-year player Fermin also impressed with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks to play a huge role in Arellano’s rise to a still spotless 8-0. As the lone remaining unbeaten team, they also possess solo lead in the tournament.

Even with their best-ever start, coach Tylon Darjuan does not want to look too far ahead – talking about an elimination round sweep and the Finals. “’Di namin iniisip yun, pero siyempre, ita-try namin,” he said.

On the other hand, San Beda fell to 7-1 even with five players in double-digits. Abu Hijleh and Germy Mahinay had 15 points each to front their effort.

Meanwhile, San Sebastian College-Recoletos finally entered the winners’ circle at the expense of still winless Emilio Aguinaldo College, 87-71. The Staglets improve to 1-7 while the Brigadiers remain in the cellar of the standings at 0-8.

In the day’s other game, Lyceum of the Philippines University gave University of Perpetual Help a 24-point beating, 117-93. Both now find themselves in a three-team logjam at 4-4.

BOX SCORES

FIRST GAME

ARELLANO 93 – Dela Torre 28, Sunga 16, Fermin 11, Abadeza 11, Dulatre 8, Espiritu 7, Dimaunahn 5, Danas 3, Rivera 3, Batilier 1, Tamayo 0, De Leon 0, Fornis 0

SAN BEDA 90 – Abu Hijleh 15, Mahinay 15, Obenza 11, Etrata 11, Tagala 10, Alfaro 9, Velasquez 8, Nayve 5, Lagumen 5, Nelle 1, Dela Rosa 0, Garcia 0

QUARTER SCORES: 19-19, 39-39, 64-67, 93-90

SECOND GAME

LPU 117 – Cecilio 18, Guadana 15, Santos 13, Cunanan 13, Jungco 12, Ruiz 11, Figueroa 9, Umpad 8, Salazar 6, Manuel 5, Udal 3, Ortiz 2, Arenal 1, Dumon 1, De Leon 0

PERPETUAL 93 – Razon 22, Bongay 13, Disquitado 11, Inliwan 10, Jaucian 9, Sta. Teresa 7, Cuevas 6, De Leon 6, Aquita 4, Duka 2, Nunez 2, Sape 1, Mendoza 0, Honra 0, Rocero 0

QUARTER SCORES: 28-28, 55-57, 83-69, 117-93

THIRD GAME

SAN SEBASTIAN 87 – Villapondo 14, Pelias 14, Canoy 12, Binarao 10, Isidro 10, Cortes 10, Cuntapay 6, Tamparong 4, Saliddin 4, Selorio 3, Espiritu 0

EAC 71 – Beduria 14, Boado 12, Dulatre 10, Oriondo 10, Baliquig 7, Calara 7, Cruz 7, Anonuevo 2, Tanque 2, Matilde 0, Kwong 0, Tapales 0, Ligot 0, Mostoles 0

QUARTER SCORES: 23-22, 38-38, 66-59, 87-71

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