LEGAZPI CITY — Jesus The Loving Shepherd Christian College (JLSCC) completed a memorable weekend by claiming the Seaoil-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) Bicol regional title at the expense of last year’s titlist Sto. Domingo National High School, 69-64, on Sunday at the Albay Astrodome.
The high school in Tigaon, Camarines Sur used their run-and-gun style of play to book a trip to Manila for the national finals to the disappointment of a predominant crowd cheering for the hometown bet Sto. Domingo High.
Justine Joseph Fortes led the Camarines Sur representatives with 22 points, and the 6-foot 16-year-old high school senior also grabbed 13 rebounds to help carry his team to the national finals where they will play some of the best high school teams in the country.
The victory also cemented the status of Jesus The Loving Shepherd as a force in Luzon, after taking the Palarong Bicol crown just this Saturday in Catanduanes to earn the right to represent Region V in the Palarong Pambansa in Laguna this summer.
The Camarines Sur-based squad stunned the hometown bets this time in the NBTC Bicol Regionals after they fell victim to Sto. Domingo in last year’s final in Naga, which is at least 40 kilometers away from Tigaon.
“Sobrang saya na nakuha uli namin ito,” said Jesus The Loving Shepherd coach Ed Contante. “Sa totoo, sobrang hirap dahil hindi lang NBTC ang pinrepare namin, kami din nag-represent ng CamSur sa Palaro.”
Not even fatigue from playing in two tournaments could stop the CamSur bets from also grabbing a berth in the NBTC national finals.
“May naglaro din sa Catanduanes kaya mahirap i-combined. Sabi ko lang, kayanin natin na ma-maintain ’yung energy natin,” said Contante.
JLSCC went on an 11-4 start before coming away with a 16-6 blast after trailing 28-31 at the half. Camarines Sur also led 56-47 early in the fourth, the cushion proving enough to avert numerous comeback tries by Sto. Domingo.
JLSCC defeated Sorsogon, 80-61, on Saturday for a place in the finals.
The other members of the team are Gener Seda, Oscar Lim Jr., Howell San Juan, Peter Carl Nismal, Carmelo Balmes, Jayson Orada, Cedrick Castillo, Jommel Isaac, John Jude Camacho, Raymundo Lived III, Mark Joseph Dela Trinidad, Rodolfo Brocales II, Francisco Dilao Jr., and Marlan Alamares.