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Red Cubs paint the town red, win title no. 19
By Joey Villar (philstar.com)
(UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines – Sweep or no sweep, San Beda ended the season the way it wanted to – with a championship.
Drawing strength from a game-long defensive brilliance and a fourth quarter heroics from Francis Abarcar, San Beda downed La Salle-Greenhills, 69-61, to complete its title romp while nailing it a league-best 19 championships in the 87th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Abarcar, who later was named the Finals MVP, fired nine of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter when the Cubs fended off a desperate fightback by the Greenies to help seal the Mendiola-based dribblers their third straight title and 19th crown, leaving Mapua behind at second with 18.
"The feeling is great because we achieved history right now and we dedicate this to the school, everyone who supported us," said San Beda coach Britt Reroma, who wore a red shirt with the number 19 printed up front signifying the school's 19th crown.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Cubs celebrated in center court knowing history had already beckoned while the Greenies, who made it to the finals for the first time, were left in tears on the sidelines knowing they missed their chance of winning their first NCAA juniors crown.
It was history waiting to happen for San Beda, which swept the double-round elimination in 18 games to move two wins away from embracing greatness.
La Salle-Greenhills, which had to scramble its way to the finals by edging No. 4 Emilio Aguinaldo and No. 2 Letran in the stepladder semis, ambushed San Beda though at the start of the title series, 85-82, to foil a fairy tale sweep.
But the Cubs, who went into the best-of-five series with an outright 1-0 lead for sweeping the elims, bounced back by returning the favor and snatching the next game by the skin of their teeth, 74-73, before reasserting their might on this game to wrap up the series, 3-1.
"It was really sweet because we end up with the title even though it wasn't a sweep," said Reroma.
And San Beda wasn't even expected to make it thus far, much more win the title, after seeing nine of its veterans headed by Baser Amer, now with the seniors team that also won the NCAA crown, graduate early this year.
"This is definitely the title I will remember the most since no one even expected us to make it this far because we lost our 9 best players," said Reroma.
Thomas Torres tried to rally the Greenies back by exploding with a game-high 25 points but couldn't get enough support.
It also didn't help that big man Gelo Vito left the game early after tweaking an ankle with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, allowing the Cubs to dominate the boards, 51-39.
Andre Paras, the tall, sweet-shooting son of former PBA rookie MVP Benjie who made 11 of his 13 points in that monumental upset in Game One, was buried by the rock-solid interior defense by San Beda and was held scoreless the whole match.
Daryl Nazareno, who scored the free throw in the dying seconds last Monday, had a four-point binge--a free throw and a triple--late in the first quarter that shattered a 13-all tie and turned it to a 17-13 after the period.
Nazareno finished with seven points after the first half when San Beda took a 29-26 advantage thanks to a last minute basket by Radge Tongco, who was part of the Energen Pilipinas team that swept its way to the SEABA title in Banting, Malaysia last August.
San Beda seized the advantage despite a 10-point first half by Thomas Torres, who was all over the place at the break after the Greenies threatened to seize control in the game on several occassions.
San Beda 69 – Abarcar 18, Nazareno 10, Abatayo 8, Tongco 7, Miranda 6, Patenio 5, Toleninto 4, Bonsubre 4, Babilonia 3, Munsayac 0, Macapayag 0
La Salle Greenhills 61 – Torres 25, Bonleon 9, Villaruz 8, Yap 7, Barrera 5, Vito 2, Mercado 2, Laigo 2, Ramilo 1, Sta. Clara 0, Paras 0
Wag nyo papakawalan yung Torres. Balita ko kinukuha daw ng ADMU!
Yung kapatid ni Thomas si Axel nasa DLSZ naman, I'm sure Lasalle will train them for Team A or relegate them to Team D muna. Kung sa amin din kasi pumunta si Thomas eh puno na kami dahil papasok pa lang si Joel Tolentino alongside Sinco and Altamirano.
Kahit nga yung kapatid ni Andre nasa Ateneo HS na nga eh, so hindi lahat makakasiguro dahil iisipin rin nila future (siyempre impluwensiya din ng pamilya yan) nila and a possible inclusion in a Team A line-up. Siguro UP ang pipiliin ni Thomas kung sakali puno na sa Archers at Blazers.
Kahit yung U-16 standout na si Alejandro ng Mapua eh dapat manmanan ng Angry Birds! Madami na gusto mag-upgrade ng programs nila!
Sayang lang some of the lsgh players went to zobel
and what happened to Enzo Mercado?
based on the youtube vids...Enzo Mercado was the star of the lsgh team
and Thomas Torres doesnt look as great in the vids as he is now.
Sayang talaga LSGH....they have been national champions in prada and pasarelle with players like Nico Salva, Vince Fran, Enzo Mercado, Torres brothers but never translate to NCAA success
Anyone know where I can watch the replay of this series? Like any online link or something? TIA!