NCAA Finals: Cagulangan carries LSGH one win away from B2B titles
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 06, 2018 04:12 PM
Who else but Joel Cagulangan to show the way for CSB-LSGH?
There was no doubt that the ball would be in the hands of Joel Cagulangan as College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills was fighting off Mapua High School late in Game 1 of the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
And there was no doubt that Cagulangan would do nothing but come through.
That was exactly what happened as the graduating guard stood tall in the face of a rally by the Red Robins to lead the Junior Blazers to a well-earned 74-69 win on Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
Cagulangan dropped nine of his 16 points in the last seven minutes to go along with 12 rebounds and four assists. “He’s Joel. He’s ready to take charge, not necessarily in scoring, but leading the pack,” head coach Marvin Bienvenida said.
The defending champions were in control for majority of the matchup until Mapua came alive on the back of Paolo Hernandez and ailing Clint Escamis. “We slugged it out. It could’ve gone either way, but somehow, we were able to cope up with our mistakes,” coach Marvin said.
The two conspired to pull their team within 56-59 inside the last seven minutes only to see Cagulangan score all but three points in a 12-9 run that re-increased CSB-LSGH’s lead to 72-65 inside the last minute.
Still, the Red Robins kept coming and again neared to just down three points with 22.8 ticks to go. They sent Mark Sangco to the line and he missed two free throws.
Jonnel Policarpio collared the rebound for Mapua, but his pass was intercepted by Junior Blazer Joshua David.
Not long after, the defending champions were celebrating a Game 1 win in the best-of-three Finals.
Cagulangan yet again added to his clutch credentials, but Inand Fornilos also posted a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double to help their team close in on the first-ever back-to-back championships in school history.
They try to finish the job next Monday still at the same venue.
For Mapua, Hernandez topped the scoring column with 20 points to go along with nine rebounds while Jonnel Policarpio chipped in 15 markers and eight boards. Escamis, still not at full strength, also contributed 14 points.
They would need much more from Dan Arches, though, if they are to stay alive following his nine-point, six-turnover outing in this one.
CSB-LSGH 74 – Cagulangan 16, Fornilos 15, Sangco 10, Calimag 8, Morales 7, David 5, Palencia 5, Valenzuela 5, Lao 3, Mosqueda 0, Lepalam 0.
MAPUA 69 – Hernandez 20, Policarpio 15, Escamis 14, Arches 9, Sarias 5, Mariano 4, Smith 2, Diaz 0, Dennison 0, Quimado 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 17-18, 42-32, 53-42, 74-69.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.