IRON sharpens iron, and for St. Clare College Virtual Reality, there's really no other proof that it belongs with the big boys than giving one of the top collegiate squads in the country a run for its money.
The Saints gave Cignal-Ateneo a scare on Tuesday in the 2019 PBA D-League when they gained early headways to the shock of the defending UAAP champions.
"Pinahirapan namin sila. Maganda ang naging laban namin," said forward Junjie Hallare.
St. Clare started off hot with a 10-0 blast and even held an 18-point lead, 64-28, before Cignal-Ateneo regained its bearings and went on a flurry to take the 88-66 victory.
Even though the Saints drew the short end of the stick in the duel, Hallare, one of the team's leaders, can beam with pride as they refused to back down to the challenge of taking on a celebrated program like the Blue Eagles.
"Hindi naman namin sila bibigyan ng laban na napakadali kaya sinigurado talaga namin na pinahirapan din namin sila," he said.
Yes, the upset was not meant to be for St. Clare as it was dealt its first defeat of the tourney, but Hallare looked at the game as a learning experience for the NAASCU titlists.
"Maganda ang ginawa namin nung first half pero nung bumalik kami, nag-relax yung iba. Napabayaan namin yung tira nila sa labas. Yun ang pumatay sa amin," he said as St. Clare allowed Cignal-Ateneo to hit five treys in the telling 31-7 third quarter run to fall behind, 59-53 late in the frame.
"Yung mga naging problema namin, yun ang kailangan naming iimprove. Marami kaming natutunan mula sa kanila."