Barba, Guadana take over as Jr. Pirates make history in NCAA 95
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 08, 2019 03:14 PM
(Photo by Arvin Lim)
Behind John Barba and Mac Guadana, Lyceum of the Philippines University made it to its first-ever Final Four in the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Still behind Barba and Guadana, the Jr. Pirates are sailing to their first-ever Finals after scoring a well-earned 78-76 win against very game San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome.
Barba fired nine of his career-best 36 points in the last two and a half minutes while Guadana was a force at both ends and totaled 14 markers, eight assists, eight rebounds, and two steals. "Lahat naman ng games namin, sila yung nagte-take charge talaga. Ayaw na nilang pakawalan 'to kasi last year na nila," head coach JC Docto said post-game.
With the Staglets threatening inside the last three minutes, Guadana found a cutting Barba for an inside basket.
The long-limbed swingman was also fouled, but botched his bonus.
Barba, however, wound up with the offensive rebound and willed another inside basket while getting fouled once more.
The MVP frontrunner made certain to convert his charity this time around and mounted a 74-67 lead for his team.
Still, Baste kept coming as Milo Janao's triple pulled them within 76-78 with 2.2 ticks to go.
They even had one last shot at a shocker as LPU's Jae Omandac muffed his free throws, but Paeng Are's fullcourt heave was just inches short and only grazed the bottom of the net.
On the back of its homegrown tantalizing talents, the Cavite-based squad overcame losing its twice-to-beat advantage and now sets up a best-of-three Finals showdown with San Beda High School that begins on Tuesday at MOA Arena. "Sobrang blessed namin kasi nagkaroon pa kami ng tsansa kahit ang sama ng game namin nung Game 1. Sinabi ko lang sa kanila, wag na naming sayangin yung opportunity at yung mga mali natin nung Game 1, wag na natin ulitn," their mentor said.
This is the first time that the Jr. Pirates have made the Final Four and also the first time they have made the Finals since joining the Grand Old League eight years ago. "Sobrang saya namin to make history, pero i-eextend pa namin yung goal namin - manalo ng championship," coach JC said.
On the other hand, the Staglets late-season charge just runs out of gas. However, this is still the best finish they have had in seven years.
Dylan Darbin topped the scoring column for them in this one with 18 points while Kim Bulasa and Nikko Aguilar chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively.
LPU 78 - Barba 36, Guadana 14, Montano 10, Omandac 7, Panganiban 6, Garing 3, Ragasa 2, Gamlanga 0, Garro 0, Santos 0, Caringal 0, Caduyac 0, Gudmalin 0, Dejelo 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 76 - Darbin 18, Bulasa 15, Aguilar 14, Janao 9, Barroga 6, Are 6, Una 4, Perez 2, Concha 2, Brizo 0, Lustina 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 18-20, 37-44, 56-54, 78-76.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.