Malayan draws first blood in Finals tiff with San Beda

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 06, 2016 03:29 PM
Malayan draws first blood in Finals tiff with San Beda
STATEMENT. Malayan easily handled San Beda to begin the Finals with a bang.

Reigning MVP Mike Enriquez did not play a single minute in Game 1 of the Finals in the 92nd Season of NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament.

And still, Malayan High School of Science had their way against seven-time champion San Beda High School.

Drawing solid showings from top to bottom of their lineup, the Red Robins got the better of the Red Cubs in an 83-64 rout on Thursday at the MOA Arena.

Graduating forward Jasper Salenga scored 17 points and four of his teammates were also in double-digits to propel Malayan to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. “Malaking tulong sa kumpyansa namin ‘to,” coach Randy Alcantara said after their first victory versus San Beda in two years.

The balanced scoring wouldn’t have been there, however, if not for a disciplined defense that frustrated usually efficient Cubs into 31 turnovers which were then quickly converted into 32 points. “Talagang nag-execute kami sa defense kasi talagang kailangang alisin namin three-points nila,” Alcantara said.

Rom Junsay, Clint Escamis, and Brian Lacap all took turns in shutting down sharpshooters Evan Nelle and Prince Etrata who only wound up with a combined 12 points in 5-of-22 shooting.

Escamis and Lacap also merged for 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists to step up in the absence of Enriquez who was downed by a viral infection. “Gusto niya maglaro, pero ‘di na talaga kinaya. Buti na lang nag-step up ‘tong mga ‘to,” Alcantara expressed.

Still, the contest was close and San Beda were only chasing down a manageable seven-point deficit until the Robins turned on the pressure cooker and grinded out a 12-4 run to wrap up the win.

Although they are one step away from their first title since 2000, Alcantara said they know very well that they still have much to do. “Tatapusin muna namin bago kami magsalita,” he said.

He then continued, referring to how Malayan also drew first blood only to drop the following two games in the Finals two years ago, “Basta ayaw namin mangyari yung (nangyari nung 2014).”

Indeed, the Cubs remain as dangerous as ever and want nothing more than to come back from their dismal showing with a vengeance. Josh Tagala led them in the losing effort with 11 points.

San Beda try to keep alive their hopes for a historic eight-peat in Game 2 on Tuesday still at the MOA Arena.

BOX SCORES

MALAYAN 83 – Salenga 17, Junsay 15, Samudio 12, Escamis 12, Lacap 8, Gozum 7, Garcia 5, Dagta 3, Bonifacio 2, Ramos 2, Andaya 0

SAN BEDA 64 – Tagala 11, Mahinay 10, Abu Hijleh 7, Nayve 7, Nelle 6, Etrata 6, Obenza 5, Lagumen 4, Alfaro 4, Dela Rosa 2, Garcia 2

QUARTER SCORES: 12-11, 31-33, 61-55, 83-64

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