NCAA 95: Umali-powered Squires stop Jr. Blazers dead in their tracks

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 06, 2019 10:36 AM
Umali-powered Squires stop Jr. Blazers dead in their tracks
Shawn Umali and Letran have now won three of their last four games (FILE PHOTO)

STANDINGS
San Beda 4-1
Arellano 4-1
CSB-LSGH 4-2
JRU 4-3
LPU 3-2
Perpetual 3-3
Letran 3-4
San Sebastian 2-3
Mapua 1-4
EAC 1-5

Colegio de San Juan de Letran imposed its will all throughout on Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre for a surprising wire-to-wire win, 69-66, against College of St. Benilde-La Salle Green Hills, the erstwhile league-leader in the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

Shawn Argente waxed hot from the get-go, dropping five of his 13 points in the last four minutes of the first quarter as the Squires charged to a 26-9 beginning.

Of course, the Jr. Blazers didn't quit just yet and Kobe Palencia caught fire in the final frame to shoot them within one, 63-64, with two minutes remaining.

It was at that point, though, that big man Shawn Umali hit a big shot as his short stab coupled with a fastbreak finish by Joshua Ramirez re-increased Letran's edge to 68-63 with 20.4 ticks to go on the clock.

"Yun talaga sinabi ko sa kanya - na wag siya magmadali, wag niya pilitin, makaka-shoot rin siya nang maayos. Ayun, nag-step up naman siya nung dulo," a more than satisfied head coach Raymond Valenzona said post-game.

Palencia nailed a triple to yet again pull CSB-LSGH to within two, 66-68, but Gabriel Cabal's split from the stripe as well as challenge on RC Calimag's last-gasp triple try kept them at bay once and for all.

Umali wound up with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double to go along with three assists while Argente contributed 13 markers and four boards off the bench.

Ramirez then continued to do it all with nine points, 10 rebounds, and three assists to help the Squires win for the third time in the last four games following a 0-3 start to the season.

They now head to their rivalry game opposite San Beda High School with their confidence as high as it has ever been in the tournament. "Mas gusto ko yung galing sa baba, tapos paakyat. Mas gusto ko yung nanggigigil sila," coach Raymond said of the much anticipated matchup on Saturday at Cuneta Astrodome.

On the other hand, the Jr. Blazers saw their three-game winning streak come to a close while also suffering their second loss through six games.

After a big-time takedown of the previously undefeated Red Cubs, they crash back to earth even after a 19-point, eight-assist, six-rebound performance from Palencia as well as a 19-marker outing by Calimag.

BOX SCORES

LETRAN 69 - Umali 17, Argente 13, Ramirez 9, Romenez 9, Saure 8, Tolentino 5, Omega 3, Tibayan 2, Cauguiran 2, Cabal 1, Santiago 0

CSB-LSGH 66 - Palencia 19, Calimag 19, Macalalag 11, Quiambao 11, Arciaga 2, Dimaunahan 2, Arguelles 2, Valenzuela 0, Manansala 0, Reyes 0, Panlilio 0, Torrijos 0, Rivera 0, Estil 0, Gagate 0

QUARTER SCORES: 21-9, 31-24, 51-42, 69-66

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