DAVAO CITY – Francis Gabriel Escandor’s all-around brilliance carried Ateneo de Davao past Assumption College of Davao 85-71 on Friday in Game One of the juniors division finals of the 2015 Gaisano Grand Cup at the Gaisano SkyGym.
The 6-2 Escandor, showing vast improvement after spending the summer break in a Las Vegas camp with the San Beda Red Lions, fired a game-high 23 points in the vengeful win over the Warriors - the same team which beat the Blue Knights in the finals of the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) last September.
Escandor’s performance was exactly what Ateneo coach Miggy Solitaria had asked for from his prized forward, who had a forgettable five-point outing in the second game of the semifinals against Holy Child.
Stepping up early for Ateneo, Escandor hit two three-pointers in the first period en route to scoring eight points in the quarter as the Blue Knights built a 22-14 lead.
Ateneo stretched the margin to 45-30 at the break before the Reds cut the deficit to 10 after three quarters 64-54. Escandor drained three triples in that period to keep Ateneo’s margin in double digits.
Darriel Manliguez added 16 points while Ion Angeles chipped in 12 for Ateneo.
Cris Marvin Vistal paced Assumption College of Davao with 21 points while shifty guard Axel Doromal had 16. Jose Miguel de Loyola contributed 13 for Assumption.
Ateneo can wrap up the title in this biggest school-based league in Davao in Game Two set on Sunday night.