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Henry Liao

2nd PCYAA BASKETBALL: MGC-NLCA DETHRONES CULTURAL FOR ASPI CROWN

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Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy is the new Aspirants Division titlist after defeating Philippine Cultural College, 67-53, Sunday afternoon (February 22) in the deciding Game Three of their best-of-three finals duel in the 2nd Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions held at the Uno High School Gym in Tondo, Manila.

MGC-NLCA had grabbed the series opener, 59-57, but PCC bounced back to take the second game, 75-67.

The Seagulls, the 2014 champions, zoomed to an 11-4 lead behind three triples by Rowel Maravillas and Romar Lee (eight points, including two trifectas ) before MGC-NLCA, which had won 10 consecutive games prior to the Game Two debacle, went on an 8-0 run (built around fielders by big boy Aldrico Dy and Nathan Tan and a triple by Jullen Salud) to grab a 12-11 lead.

After Rafael Pangilinan regained the lead for PCC, 13-12, MGC-NLCA netted the quarter’s final nine points (on a pair of baskets by Dy, a three-point play by Joshua Uang and free throws by Salud and Ike Jordan Lim) to move ahead, 21-13, after the first 10 minutes.

Dy chalked up eight points in the first period to offset the poor shooting of Lim, the No. 2 scorer in the Aspi tournament who only had a solitary point and Lee produced eight markers for PCC to make up for the inept offensive play of Michael Manansala, the tournament’s third-leading scorer entering the game, was held scoreless by the suffocating PCC defense.

Dy came up with three quick fielders as MGC-NLCA maintained a seven-point lead, 27-20. Manansala finally broke into the scoring column with 3:58 left in the second canto on a pair of free throws. This sparked a 7-0 run (including a pair of twinners by Pangilinan) by PCC that deadlocked the count at 27-all.

Following two charity shots by MGC-NLCA’s Nathan Tan, Lee connected on a third three to give PCC its final taste of the lead, 30-29.

Split free throws by Lim and Sy pushed MGC-NLCA back on the driver’s seat at halftime, 31-30. The top marksman on both teams, Lim (two, 0-for-5 from the field) and Manansala (four, 1-for-8 from the field) combined for only six points but their respective sidekicks, Dy (14) and Lee (11), totaled 25.

MGC-NLCA’s Aaron Sy and Manansala exchanged triples to open the third quarter before Lim regained his form with three fielders (including a triple) and the hardworking Dy came up with three field goals as MGC-NLCA established a 49-37 lead

MGC-NLCA was ahead, 51-39, after the third quarter, and led by at least 11 points throughout the payoff period (the last at 64-53, with a minute remaining following consecutive three-balls by PCC’s Rico Wu).

Lim got going in the fourth quarter with 11 markers (including a second triple) and wound up with 20 for MGC-NLCA on 6-for-16 field shooting and 6-for-10 free-throw clip. Dy also had 20 points (all in the first three quarters) and hauled down 14 rebounds for a double-double. Sy added eight scores (including 5-of-10 from the charity stripes) and six reebies and Nathan Tan had six points and 11 caroms.

Manansala, on the other hand, failed to score in double digits for the first time in 12 appearances as he netted a measly seven points on 2-of-14 field shooting. Manansala, who scored 29 points in Game Two, was blanked in the fourth quarter.

Lee had 16 points to pace the runner-up Seagulls, whose players cried unabashedly after the loss. Wu finished with a dozen markers, Pangilinan totaled eight (plus seven boards and three steals) and burly Anson Tan had six points (none in the final quarter) and five reebies.

To recap, Saint Jude Catholic School took the championships in the Developmental Division (for players age 11 and under) and Juniors Division (Boys High School); Uno High School, this year’s host, snared the Ladies Division (Girls High School) diadem; and MGC-NLCA romped away with the Aspirants Division crown for boys age 13 and under.

Philippine Cultural College will be the host in PCYAA Season Three.
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