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Henry Liao

17th MASA Basketball Finals: CKSC vs. SJCS

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It will guest team Chiang Kai Shek College against host Saint Jude Catholic School in the one-game finals of the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) high school basketball tournament.

D-Day (Decision Day) will be on Saturday, November 29, at the Philippine Cultural College Gym in Tondo, Manila. Just before the championship game (10:30 a.m.), deposed titlist Hope Christian High School and Saint Stephen’s High School will duke it out for third-place honors in the opener (9:00 a.m.) of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Chiang Kai Shek College Blue Dragons, who sport a lily-white 8-0 record in the eight-school, seven-week competitions, had destroyed the SJCS Judenites, 60-37, in their elimination-round faceoff last November 22, although both squads missed the services of some of their key players at the time.

In that game, tree-like Jonas Raphael Tibayan showed up for the first time in the tournament and put together a double-double performance for CKSC with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

During last Sunday’s semifinal playoffs, Chiang Kai Shek College brushed aside its twice-to-beat incentive and made quick work of fourth-seeded Saint Stephen’s High School, 65-46, while third-seeded Saint Jude Catholic School avenged its 79-63 elimination-round loss to Hope Christian High School by stunning the 2013 MASA titlist, 70-67, in their knockout encounter.

Against the Stephenians (4-4), CKSC took control late in the first 10-minute quarter then outscored its foes, 22-7, in the second period to grab a sizeable 38-19 advantage at halftime. The Blue Dragons were never seriously challenged in the second half, enjoying a lead of at least 13 points throughout and their largest at 63-38 on a Robert John Minerva triple with four minutes remaining.

Tibayan once again spearheaded CKSC’s offense with 15 markers along with six rebounds. Shamasneh Banez, another hulking frontliner, produced a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards and speedy guard Gershom Norman Montes also collected 10 markers.

For Saint Jude Catholic School, it was off-the-chart to have beaten Hope Christian HS in the semifinals. The Warriors, who whipped the Judenites in the MASA finals a year ago, were ahead by as much as 22 points, 38-16, late in the first half notwithstanding the offensive woes of their scoring leader, National Youth Team member Jollo Go.

As if it were a portent of things to come, Hope Christian surrendered the final five points of the half to lead by just 17, 38-21. It turned out to be the calm before the storm as Saint Jude made a huge game-altering turnaround in the third period, outscoring the Warriors, 29-9, to move ahead, 50-47, entering the final 10 minutes.

The Judenites of bench boss Luis Nolasco erected a 67-57 lead with two minutes and 36 seconds remaining behind the heroics of Renzel Yongco, Maynard Yap, Earl See and Daniel Pua. But Hope Christian, however, was not done yet. A last-ditch rally put the Warriors within one point, 68-67, with 19.1 ticks left.

Ahead 70-67, Saint Jude hung on to victory when Go, who labored offensively all game long, misfired on a trifecta attempt that could have forced a deadlock and sent the game into overtime.

Four players scored in twin digits for the Judenites – See, 17 points; Pua, 17; Yongco, 15; and Yap 13. The team missed the services of burly frontliner Alec Johnson Billan due to an ankle injury he sustained against CKSC during their elims showdown.

Go epitomized Hope Christian HS’ horrendous meltdown, collecting a frigid 12 points (on 4-of-25 FG and 4-of-10 FT shooting) without a single three-pointer (his trademark shot) throughout the game nor a field goal in the payoff quarter.

Antonio Miguel Yang topscored for the Warriors with 14 markers and Kris Harvey Pagsanjan had eight of his 10 markers in the final canto.
Chiang Kai Shek College is a slight favorite to repeat over Saint Jude Catholic School in the finals with its height advantage and deeper bench corps – granting the team comes in full force, of course.

White they don’t own a legit go-to-guy, the Blue Dragons have a physical, tall lineup in Tibayen (18.5 ppg), Banez, Marc Erzel Quijano, Minerva, Adrian Martin Magada, Eric Anthony Guiao (9.8 ppg) and Joshua Ramirez (11.8 ppg) although Guiao and Ramirez have not shown up in CKSC’s last three assignments.

Other CKSC contributors are backcourters Montes (10.5 ppg) and Richmond Sedrick King (7.9 ppg) and wingmen Jaylen Christian Ang (7.1 ppg) and Danilo Hernandez (6.8 ppg).

For Saint Jude Catholic School, which has a 6-2 record, much of its strength lies in the troika of Yongco (16.0 ppg), See (13.5 ppg) and Yap (11.0 ppg), who ranked fifth, sixth and 14th, respectively, in the league in point production.

Hardworking Pua (9.5 ppg) bring a lot of energy to his team and if Billian (9.3 ppg) is available for service, the Judenites may yet spring a surprise and offer the Blue Dragons a stiff challenge.
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Philippine Basketball

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