LA Consolacion College-Manila leaned on the heroics of Josue Quintal and Tanzanian center Jimmy Brown to pull off a stunning 58-56 win over Philippine Merchant Marine School to move within a win of capturing the 4th Interscholastic Athletic Association basketball crown on Tuesday at the Makati Coliseum.
The six-foot Quintal hit a go-ahead three in the dying seconds before Brown came through with two blocks to help the Blue Royals hand the favored Mariners their first loss of the tournament.
Game Two of the best-of-three series will be held tomorrow at the same venue with LCCM looking to capture its first-ever championship of the cagefest backed by Molten and Mikasa of Sonia Trading, Globe and Abot Kaya Pinoy.
The Mendiola-based cagers of coach Bong dela Cruz entered the series as heavy underdogs despite ousting Technological Institute of the Philippines in the final stage of the stepladder phase.
PMMS, for its part, gained the outright finals berth when it won all six classification-round games by double-digit margins.
Quintal, who finished with 13 points, gave LCCM a 57-56 after nailing a triple with 30 seconds left but the Mariners were left with a chance at forcing overtime after Ryan Sagrada's split of his charities, 58-56, with 12 ticks remaining.
However, 6-foot-9 Brown denied the Mariners that opportunity when he thwarted two Mariners shots in the final two plays.
Dhon Reverente scored 24 points while Elmar Moradas added 10 markers for PMMS, which played with just seven players.