Mclaude Guadana and John Barba steered Lyceum of the Philippines University-Cavite to a 74-71 squeaker over Holy Trinity College-General Santos to start their campaign on a high in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM Monday morning at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Guadana fired 24 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals, as Barba poured 23 points, none bigger than his go-ahead bucket in the final 10 seconds, on top of his seven boards, and three assists as they helped the Junior Pirates avert a 22-point meltdown in the seeding round.
The win allowed Lyceum-Cavite to lock down the 28-seed, setting up a first round collision course against 5-seed Ateneo de Manila in the national high school championship sponsored by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, Molten, and presented by 5Plus and Lighthouse Events.
Kyle Buen still had a shot to give the Wildcats the lead, but went way short in his floater that led to Jae Omandac to seal the win at the free throw line.
HTC-GenSan settled for the 29-seed after the loss and will meet 4-seed San Beda.
In the other games, University of Baguio outsteadied Dolores National High School Eastern Samar, 68-56, to claim the 27-seed; Narvacan National High School Candon stunned Isabella Colleges Cauayan, 80-74, to lock down the 25-seed; and FINAL GAME, to clinch the 26-seed.
The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM will feature 32 teams composed by league champions, perennial contenders, a record-six international teams, and regional titlists. The entire event will be free of admission, needing just a valid ID to enter.
The tournament semis and finals, alongside the annual All-Star Game, will be aired live on ESPN5. All games, from the seeding round to the championship round, will also be streamed live over at tv5.espn.com