‘Destined, determined’ DLSZ, UST forge fourth-seed playoff

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 04, 2017 01:43 PM
‘Destined, determined’ DLSZ, UST forge fourth-seed playoff
HERE TO STAY. DLSZ and UST will meet again on Thursday in a do-or-die matchup.

Call it destiny, call it determination, but the fact of the matter is, both De La Salle Zobel and University of Sto. Tomas remain alive and kicking in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

With the Final Four cast yet to be completed due to Adamson High School’s forfeiture, the Junior Archers and the Tiger Cubs are all set to wage war for the fourth and final ticket to the playoffs following separate wins on Saturday at the San Juan Arena.

DLSZ, last year’s runner-up, gave itself a chance at the Final Four after a gritty 82-69 triumph over University of the Philippines Integrated School.

The contest was close and the Junior Archers were only one point ahead after three quarters before little-known Franz Diaz came out of nowhere to take charge. Scoring all 11 of his points in the payoff period, he steered his team to their sixth win in 14 games.

In all, DLSZ outscored the Junior Maroons, 25-13, in the final frame as hotshot Juan Gomez de Liano was limited to only one point in his last 10 minutes in the Juniors division.

“I think destiny is calling us. Right now, we just wanna take advantage of the opportunity right before us,” a beaming coach Boris Aldeguer expressed.

Indeed, grabbing the bull by its horns were graduating players Joaqui Mariano, Jan Sobrevega, and MR Mariano who scored 23, 17, and 16 points, respectively, to keep the Junior Archers alive for at least a playoff for the fourth and final playoff berth.

Meeting them there will be UST which made quick work of hapless University of the East, 94-81.

Miguel Ratiuste busted out with a big-time 25-point, 15-rebound double-double and was backed up by Inand Fornillos’ own 18 points and 15 rebounds. “We just showed our determination,” head coach Chris Cantonjos expressed after his wards also improved to 6-8.

However, uncertainty hovers above the heads of the Tiger Cubs after a bench-clearing brawl ended the game before the final buzzer.

Witnesses said that things got too heated between a UST player and a Junior Warrior and the two came to blows. Many players from both sides then stormed the court.

Fortunately, game officials and security personnel were able to separate the squads after a while. The league, represented by commissioner Rebo Saguisag, then decided to end the game then and there.

According to Saguisag, the matter is under investigation. “We have to be certain of our findings and the appropriate sanctions, if necessary,” he said.

The league commissioner went on to say that they will do their best to complete the review as soon as possible, so as to give the Tiger Cubs ample time to adjust.

What’s sure is that UST and DLSZ will battle for the fourth and final playoff berth on Thursday afternoon still at the San Juan Arena.

BOX SCORES

FIRST GAME

UST 94 – Ratuiste 25, Fornillos 18, Baquial 14, Balingit 12, Narvasa 9, Cansino 6, Ballada 4, Dela Cruz 2, Villapando 2, Ian 2, Vince 0, Morales 0

UE 81 – Angeles 23, Gonzales 22, Manaug 14, Vinte 9, Acuesta 5, Po 2, Dulalia 2, Encelan 2, Canton 2, Cruz 0, Balundo 0, Ramos 0, Domingo 0

QUARTER SCORES: 28-18, 48-50, 74-71, 94-81

SECOND GAME

DLSZ 82 – Mariano 23, Sobrevega 17, Romero 16, Diaz 11, Vista 6, Carlos 4, Terrado 3, Natividad 2, Santos 0, Cosejo 0, Chavez 0, Vesagas 0, Umali 0, Damiles 0, Cortez 0

UPIS 69 – Gomez de Liano Ju 12, Labao Ral 12, Santiago 12, Lina 9, Vergeire 9, Labao Raf 8, Tupaz 7, Lagahit 0, Gregorio 0, Estrera 0, Dimaculangan 0, De Los Reyes 0, Condalor 0, Gomez de Liano Jo 0

QUARTER SCORES: 16-22, 42-34, 57-56, 82-69

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