XS, HCHS CLASH FOR MMTLBA JUNIORS CROWN
byon 02-26-2013 at 09:40 PM (5187 Views)
The deciding Game Three of the best-of-three Juniors Division Finals in the 43rd Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association BonChon Chicken tournament between Xavier School and Hope Christian High School will be held today, February 28, at the Chiang Kai Shek College Gymnasium.
Hope Christian High School is bidding to end a 20-year title drought while Xavier School is looking to regain its lofty status with a fifth championship in six years.
Hope Christian HS took the series opener with a 74-66 decision, leading by as much as 21 points (56-35) midway through the third period before staving off a huge rally by the Golden Stallions. HCHS hotshot Jollo Go knocked in seven triples and 23 points and burly center John Apacible registered a double-double with 10 points and 19 boards for coach Steve Tiuís troops. With XSís baby-faced 6-7 mastodon Isaac Go in early foul trouble, HCHS easily dominated the boards with a 52-31 rebounding edge. Kyles Lao, the tournamentís No. 1 scorer, chalked up exactly half of Xavier School ís total output with 33 points as no other player in Gold and Blue uniform hit double figures.
In Mondayís Game Two where neither side led by more than seven points, Xavier School proved to be a tough nut to crack in the five minutes to register an 80-74 success against HCHS. Following the sixth and final deadlock at 68-68, stocky reserve center Louis Cu, Lao and Paolo Susmerano clustered six consecutive points to propel the Golden Stallions to a 74-68 advantage that it never surrendered thereafter.
XS guard Anton Lapez knocked in his second three-pointer for a 77-71 lead at the 2:21 mark but his HCHS counterpart Arjan Dela Cruz answered back with a trifecta of his own 23 ticks later to cut the deficit to three points, 77-74, with 1:58 remaining. Rookie mentor Jerome Olivaís forces finished off the title-hungry HCHS team with three free throws from Isaac Go and Jarrell Lim.
Lao once again topscored for the Golden Stallions with 31 points. He shot 9-of-16 from the field and was 13-of-13 from the free throw line, along with five rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes.
Lim, the missing link in XSís offensive arsenal in the series opener when he made just six markers, atoned for his lackluster Game One performance with 18 points, including 16 in the first half. Isaac Go, who only had six points and four boards in the series-opening debacle, contributed seven and 10 this time, including five rebounds in the payoff quarter, for XS, whose 26 field goals came off 20 assists.
Just like in Game One, HCHSís share-the-offensive-wealth strategy produced five double-digit scorers in the second game. Dela Cruz was tops with 16 points, Jobert Mercado had 15 off the bench and Jollo Go totaled a dozen despite a forgettable 4-for-17 floor effort (including 2-of-13 from three-point territory). Leon Guion added 10 points and Apacible posted a second straight double-double with 10 markers and 13 rebounds.
Hope Christian High School attempted just 16 times from the charity stripes and made 11 while Xavier School went 24-for-31 from the same area. Both schools grabbed 37 rebounds each.
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Here are some Finals notes.
+ Jose (Jollo) Go IV, Hope Christian High Schoolís scoring leader this season with a 13.9-point clip, is pacing the Tiong Lian tournament in three-pointers made with 36 triples in 12 appearances, or an average of three a game. He collected at least one trifecta in 10 of his 12 assignments, missing out only in both encounters against 2012 titlist Chiang Kai Shek College .
In contrast, Xavier School ís Kyles Lao, the tournamentís No. 1 scorer with a 26.5 average, is 1-for-19 from the three-point area this season.
+ Xavier School ís Gian and Isaac Go are bidding to become the first set of brothers in the league to play on a championship unit since Jeric and Jeron Teng of the Golden Stallions in 2009.
+ Only one team in Tiong Lian history has reached the Finals thrice in a row without winning a championship Ė the defunct Uno High School in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Today, Hope Christian HS hopes to avoid joining Uno High School with the futility record.