Baby Tams fend off fighting Baby Falcons; Ateneo now 11-0
Do-it-all L-Jay Gonzales and defending champion FEU-Diliman got the better of do-it-all Joem Sabandal and upstart Adamson
Far Eastern University-Diliman can thank all of Daniel Celzo’s breakout game as well as L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos’ all-around effort as it gets back on the win column in the 80th Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Celzo scored a career-high 17 points, Gonzales and Abarrientos stuffed the stat sheet, and the Baby Tamaraws needed every single bit of their contributions to ward off very game Adamson High School, 72-71, on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The defending champions had a 12-point lead early in the final frame and looked to be cruising to a win before Joem Sabandal rallied the Baby Falcons within 71-72 with 4.9 ticks to go on the clock.
Fortunately for FEU-Diliman, their defense stood strong in the game’s decisive moment as they did not allow Adamson to even put up an attempt.
That defensive stand saved the day for them even after they squandered a 12-point advantage, 61-49.
That lead was built up by Gonzales who wound up with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals as well as Abarrientos who totaled 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and two steals.
With the thriller of a triumph, the Baby Tamaraws have broken away from the three-way logjam and now stand at solo third, holding a 6-5 record.
University of Sto. Tomas can tie them there in its matchup later in the day.
Adamson dropped back down to the sixth spot at 5-6, but has just proven that it should also be mentioned as a contender.
Indeed, Sabandal will continue to be a problem for the other teams as evidenced by his 22 points and five assists in this one.
In the day’s first game, Ateneo de Manila High School throttled archrival De La Salle Zobel, 93-73, for its 11th consecutive victory to start the season.
SJ Belangel howed the way with 21 points on top of three assists and three steals while Kai Sotto chipped in 16 markers, six rebounds, three blocks, and two dimes.
Joaqui Manuel also posted another double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals all while spurring the Blue Eaglets’ tear through the middle quarters.
Trailing by three after the opening salvo, Manuel and company turned it on in the second and third periods, dominating their opponents, 51-30.
The Junior Archers would have no answer for that and saw their record fall to 3-8.
ATENEO 93 – Belangel 21, Sotto 16, Manuel 14, Angeles 8, Ildefonso 7, Escalona 7, Jaymalin 6, Chiu 5, Credo 4, Lopa 3, Diaz 2, David 0, Gusi 0, Santos 0, Tanedo 0.
DLSZ 73 – Calimag 14, Cortez 14, Consejo 13, Pascual 9, Escandor 7, Santos 4, Terrado 4, Carlos 3, Udal 2, Barcuma 2, Chavez 1, Bonalos 0, Vesagas 0, Buncayo 0, Favis 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 19-22, 42-38, 70-52, 93-73
FEU-DILIMAN 72 – Celzo 17, Abarrientos 16, Gonzales 15, Torres 8, Tolentino 6, Sajonia 5, Alforque 3, Boc 2, Ona 0, Mariano 0
ADAMSON 71 – Sabandal 22, Doria An 14, Hanapi 12, Doria Ad 8, Canoy 8, Engbino 3, Manlapaz 2, Baculio 2, Prodigo 0, Santos 0, Sevilla 0
QUARTER SCORES: 16-16, 30-33, 53-49, 72-71
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.