San Beda holds off Hope for NBTC championship

Rick Olivares
San Beda built an early lead then held off a searing Hope Christian rally to win their first NBTC title yesterday.

Photo by Rick Olivares

MANILA, Philippines — Extreme 97 San Beda College got back at Mako Hope Christian High School with a 100-96 overtime win the Seaoil National Basketball Training Center Championship at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City last Sunday, March 3.

The Red Cubs leaned on the outside shooting of big man Arvin Tolentino and forward Javee Mocon as well as shooting guard Franz Abuda in the last 15 minutes of play to repulse the tough Hope Christian side.

One month ago, Hope Christian defeated San Beda for the Metro Manila Basketball League title.

Fast start

With vengeance on their mind, the reigning NCAA titlists looked to blow away their Tiong Lian League opponent as they led by 21 points early in the first quarter after a bucket by Revrev Diputado that made it 29-8.

But Hope Christian slowly came back behind the hot shooting of Jolo Go, the strong inside play of center John Apacible and the in-and-out game of forward Clint Doliguez.

In an incandescent third quarter, Go drilled four triples – two of them consecutive — even with defenders in his face to notch the count for the very first time at 62-all with 2:02 left to play in the period. Then Doliguez split two defenders for a strong drive and a finish for a 64-62 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

With the Red Cubs faltering in the stretch as they couldn’t break Hope Christian’s zone, they got a huge break when Apacible was whistled for his fifth and last foul with 4:08 to play and his team up, 79-77.


Fatigue set in

With no intimidating center left, San Beda began to pound the ball inside. However, Hope Christian managed to stay with them and even had the chance to win the match in regulation and the score at 90-all but Go missed a wide open triple from the deep left corner.

Once in overtime, fatigue had caught up with Hope Christian as guard Wally Villanueva and Doliguez were all tuckered out after having played their third match of the day.

Earlier in the day, Hope Christian held off tough Maynilad-Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, the two-time NBTC defending champions, 73-66, while SBC easily dispatched Smart Iloilo Central Commercial HS, 101-67. None of the Red Cubs save for graduating guard, Axel Iñigo, suited up for the Seaoil NBTC High School All-Star Game that immediately followed (Iñigo did not play in the NBTC finals).

Despite battling cramps and fatigue, Hope Christian still had the opportunity to win the match outright but Leo Guion missed a challenged three-point attempt from the left corner. Mocon closed out the match with two free throws for the 100-96 win –

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