GRACE Christian College bagged its first ever PCYAA (Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association) basketball title after edging Pace Academy, 75-74, in the deciding Game 3 of the Aspirants Division finals at the UNO High School gym recently.
Ren Cobie Tolentino led the Graceans with 25 points and five rebounds, including the insurance basket in the final 16.8 seconds when he sank the second of his two free throws off the fifth foul of Art Johnson Teng, 75-72.
Pace then missed on a potential game-tying three-pointer, before Jaspher Fernando scored underneath for the final tally.
Goggles-wearing Kobe Chua posted a monster double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds along with four block shots for Grace, which finished the five-week, nine-school tournament with a 12-1 (win-loss) record and needed to win back-to-back in the title series to emerge champions.
Joshua Peter Chan added 18, while Jesse Garcia had eight for the top seeded Graceans, handled by head coach Stephen Julian Go Tan and assisted by Victor Pablo and Randy Aldefolia.
Anton Evangelista had 21 points and nine rebounds, while Airick Sy chalked up 15 for the no. 2 seeded Pace, which mounted a huge fourth quarter comeback to make a fight out of it.
Down, 52-71 with 7:36 left, Pace battled back behind a big 20-3 run to threaten at 74-72 on an Evangelista basket with 41 seconds to go.
But the rally fell short as Tolentino split his free throws to clinch the win for Grace Christian.
Fernando (nine rebounds and four steals) and Josh Co each had 10 points, while Tong collected nine points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals for Pace before fouling out.
Present during the awarding ceremony is Dr. Zenaida Lumba, vice president for academic affairs-higher education of Grace Christian College.
Other member schools which saw action in the tournament headed by president Dr. James Tan are St. Jude Catholic School, St. Stephen High School, Uno High School, St. Peter The Apostle School, Philippine Cultural College, Jubilee Christian Academy, and deposed champion Makati Gospel Church-NCLA.
Vic Ycasiano served as commissioner of the meet’s fifth season, with Sherwin Ngo as sports coordinator, and Bonnie Tan as sports director.