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Henry Liao


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There will be a new champion in the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) high school basketball competitions.

This came about after host Saint Jude Catholic School stunned 2013 titlist Hope Christian High School, 70-67, in their knockout semifinal showdown Sunday afternoon (November 23) at the Philippine Cultural College Gym to reach the one-game finals against top seed and unblemished Chiang Kai Shek College.

The Judenites were limited to just eight points in the second quarter and trailed by as much as 22 points, 38-16, late in the first half. It was in the helter-skelter third period that coach Luis Nolasco’s charges turned their fortunes around, outscoring HCHS, 29-9, to move ahead, 50-47, entering the fourth period.

SJCS, which lost to HCHS in last year’s finals, took a 67-57 lead with 2:36 left but fell into a maze of errors that enabled HCHS to come within one, 68-67, with 19.1 seconds left.

The Judenites increased their lead to 70-67 on split charities by Renzel Yongco and Maynard Yap at the 12.6-second mark ticks and then off-form HCHS marksman Jollo Go, who struggled offensively all game long with a porous 4-for-25 field clip , sealed his team’s monumental downfall by missing a contested three-pointer in the next play.

Earlier in the day, guest team CKSC made mincemeat of the short-handed and No.4 Saint Stephen’s High School in their own semifinal duel, coming up with an easy 65-46 victory to register their eighth victory in as many appearances in the seven-week tournament. The Blue Dragons came into the game armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.

Chiang Kai Shek College (8-0) and Saint Jude Catholic School (6-2) will clash for the MASA crown on Saturday, November 29 (10:30 a.m.), at the PCC Gym. The twin bill starts at 9:00 a.m. with the third-place game between Hope Christian High School (6-2) and Saint Stephen’s High School (4-4).

During the elimination phase, Chiang Kai Shek College downed Saint Jude Catholic School, 60-37, behind Jonas Raphael Tibayan’s 22 points and 12 rebounds.

SJCS 70 – HCHS 67

Dethroned champion Hope Christian High School raced to a 7-0 getaway behind by Antonio Miguel Young (two baskets, including a triple) and John Francis Sacundo before speedy guard Earl Vincent See connected on a trifecta to jumpstart Saint Jude Catholic School’s offense.

The HCHS Warriors led, 15-13, after one quarter and enjoyed a 38-21 advantage at the half as nine players broke into the scoring column, led by Yang’s 12 points (including a pair of triples) on 5-for-7 shooting). Go had four points on 2-of-10 FG shooting at the half, none in the opening period.

As if it was a portent of its impending doom, the Warriors gave up the last four points of the second period on a twinner by energetic frontliner Daniel Edwin Pua and a trey by Yongco, who went a paltry 1-for-9 from the field and missed a pair of charity attempts after 20 minutes.

The 5-0 mini run sparked a huge comeback by SJCS. After Go connected on a jumper (his fourth and final fielder) to give HCHS a 40-23 lead, the Judenites engineered an 11-3 run to trim their deficit under single digit, 43-34, on a three-play by Yongco.

Lorenzo Celis knocked in a short shot off a fake to restore Hope Christian’s lead back to 11, 45-34, with 6:29 remaining in the third period. It was at this stage that Saint Jude made its game-altering move, detonating a 14-0 bomb behind the snipings of See (seven points, including a triple), Yongco (a triple) and a fielder each by Yap (who jumpstarted the rally) and Pua (a putback) to go ahead, 48-45, time down to 2:16 in the same period.

It was the first of See’s back-to-back baskets that propelled SJCS to its first lead at 46-45. Marvel Joy Jimenez stopped the bleeding with a free throw for HCHS, 48-46, but Pua made a fielder to jack up the Judenites’ advantage to four, 50-46, at the 1:01 mark. Jimenez again split his charities as the quarter ended, 50-47, in the Judenites’ favor.

In the pivotal third quarter in which Saint Jude broke away from Hope Christian’s halfcourt pressure and mesmerized its foes with a number of razzle-dazzle plays, SJCS limited HCHS to just three field goals and nine points, with Yongco, See and Christian Erwin Carlos alternately shadowing Go and holding the National Youth Team member to just five markers. It also frolicked on the other end, with Pua and Yongco scoring eight points each, See tallying seven and Yap contributing four for the Judenites.

See shoved SJCS to a four-point lead, 52-48, with a basket early in the payoff period but HCHS countered with consecutive twinners by Kris Harvey Pagsanjan and Joshua Davara (a putback) to force the game’s first and only deadlock at 52-all.

See quickly connected on a three-ball at the 6:40 mark as the Judenites moved ahead once again, 55-52, and never again did they surrender the upperhand.

HCHS was within three points, 57-56, on a Pagsanjan putback when Yap completed a three-point play and Yongco punched in his second triple of the final half for a 63-56 SJCS edge, time down to 4:05. After Go shot 1-for-2 from the foul line, the hardworking Pua had a follow-up and layup off a Yap assist as the Judenites grabbed a double-digit lead, 67-57. While Go subsequently missed a pair of free throws, the Warriors were far from finish, making a last-ditch stand after Pua fouled out with 1:48 left.

SJCS was still up, 68-59, on a freebie by Yap when HCHS clustered eight straight points – including back-to-back baskets by Pagsanjan – and came within one, 68-67, on a Miranda fielder.

Down by three, 70-67, Go misfired on a potential game-tying trey. After Yongco clanked both of his freebies with 4.5 ticks left, Hope Christian HS had one last chance to send the game into OT but Miranda took precious time to control the rock off Yongco’s second FT miss and was forced to hoist a Hail Mary shot at the buzzer.

Four men scored in double figures for Saint Jude. See and Pua tallied 17 points apiece; Yongco shot 5-for-19 from the field (including three triples) and was 2-for-7 from the foul line for 15 markers (along with three steals); and Yap totaled 13 scores, grabbed nine rebounds and stole the ball twice. Yongco and See had three triples each and Pua plucked down nine reebies.

SJCS missed the services of burly Alec Johnson Billan due to an ankle injury he sustained against CKSC last November 22.

For HCHS, Yang contributed a team-high 14 points on 6-of-11 field shooting, including two treys) and four reebies in a losing effort. Go, who shot 4-for-10 from the charity stripes (including 3-of-8 in the fourth quarter), finished with 12 points despite being held without a fielder in the final 10 minutes or a three-pointer throughout the game. Pagsanjan had eight of his 10 points in the final canto.

CKSC 65 – SSHS 46

Saint Stephen’s HS jumped to a slim four-point lead, 6-2, at the start. However, Jonas Raphael Tibayan gave Chiang Kai Shek College its first lead, 10-9, and teammate Danilo Hernandez subsequently connected on a twinner that pushed the Blue Dragons to a 12-9 edge.

CKSC, which was mentored by John Sia, never trailed thereafter against a Stephenian squad that only had eight men on the bench.

CKSC was up 16-12, at the end of the first quarter; 38-19 at the half behind Tibayan’s 12 points; and 49-31 after three quarters. The Blue Dragons enjoyed a double-digit lead throughout the final half.

Three players produced twin-figure scores for CKSC – Tibayan who collected 15 points plus six rebounds; Gershom Norman Montes, who had 10 points; and Shamasneh Banez, who registered a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Richmond Sedrick King totaled seven markers and big man Robert John Minerva also scored seven along with six boards, two blocks and two steals. Marc Erzel Quijano failed to score but grabbed eight boards.

Saint Stephen’s HS was led by Luigi Laroco, Rojeene Bondoc and Bryant Terrado, who scored 14, 13 and 11 points, respectively.
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