REIGNING champion Chiang Kai Shek College fended off a spirited comeback by Xavier School to eke out a 70-67 win and move on the threshold of sweeping the first round eliminations of the 43rd Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association-BonChon Chicken Championship Tuesday at the CKSC gym in Manila.
In a game marked by several lead changes and missed chances, the Blue Dragons leaned on the game-long brilliance of Jeremy Gallemit and Kimlee Bayquin to notch their fourth straight win in the six-team tournament presented by BonChon Chicken.
Gallemit fired 22 points on an impressive 9-of-13 shooting from the field, while Bayquin chipped in 13 markers, including two pressure-packed charities that gave the title holder a 70-67 lead in the final 24.9 seconds.
The Golden Stallions had two chances to tie the score and send the game into overtime, but Jarrell Lim and Anton Lapez bungled their three-point attempts in the waning seconds.
With the loss, Xavier slipped to 2-1, the same record of host St. Stephen’s High School, which drew an inspired performance from Pierce Tyrone Chan to beat Grace Christian College, 73-61, last Sunday.
In his best game so far, Chan finished in double-double by tallying 21 points and 16 boards. He also posted five assists, three steals, and three block shots.
Meantime, Hope Christian High School vented its ire on St. Jude Catholic School, 98-37, to even its record to 2-2 in the event backed by Solar BTV, Molten and Summit Water. Hope Christian was coming off a heart-rending 71-66 overtime loss to the Golden Stallions.
CKSC completed a three-game sweep in the Aspirants division by downing SSHS, 72-40, while Xavier finished with a 2-1 record by beating GCC, 67-43.