Longtime rivals Chiang Kai Shek, Xavier cross paths in intriguing PSSBC playoff match-up
Gilas Pilipinas official Butch Antonio, PSSBC Chairman Jimi Lim (center), Rain or Shine’s Terry Que and Freego’s Eduard Tio hold the replica of the P1 million check for Gilas as promised by PSSBC governors Dr. Cecilio Pedro of Hapee Toothpaste, Blackwater-Ever Bilena’s Dioceldo Sy and Tio for its inspiring performance in the Fiba World Cup in Spain. Also present in the turnover during the PSSBC Ironcon Builders Cup opening are PBA chairman Pato Gregorio, former Gilas coach Chot Reyes, Ranidel de Ocampo, Dickies Underwear’s Rudy Yu and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum’s Jimmy dela Cruz.

NCAA runner-up Mapua, Far Eastern University and Chiang Kai Shek College pulled off contrasting wins to sweep their respective group assignments in the 3rd Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship Ironcon Builders Cup on Wednesday at the SGS gym in Quezon City.

With Sherwin Concepcion and Daniel Aguirre displaying near flawless shooting, the Mapua Red Robins raced to an early 14-point lead on the way to a 61-51 win over the Xavier School Stallions in Group C action.

Concepcion and Aguirre scored 14 points each to highlight Mapua’s well-balanced attack.

The FEU Baby Tamaraws needed an extra five minutes to beat the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers, 75-67, in Group B, while the CKSC Blue Dragons leaned on a fiery start to dispatch defending champion San Sebastian College Staglets, 106-87, in Group A.

San Beda, the winningest NCAA team with 21 titles, earlier topped Group D by downing University of the Philippines and Hope Christian High School.

But Hope Christian High completed the quarterfinal cast in the tournament sponsored by Ever Bilena-Blackwater, Dickies Underwear, MEC Computers, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Hapee Toothpaste, Freego, and Rain or Shine following a 91-74 drubbing of UP.

Behind by 14 points midway through the third, the Baby Tamaraws wheeled back into the game through the inspired plays of Marvin Lee and Chris Fajarito. The two combined for 32 points, including crucial baskets early in overtime that helped complete the comeback.

Shooting guard Fran Yu led the Blue Dragons with 27 points on an impressive 8-of-12 shooting. He was ably supported by Van Pilanga, who finished with 18 points and nine assists.

By topping its group assignment, Chiang Kai Shek College arranged an interesting quarterfinal showdown with longtime rival Xavier in the next round.

“I’m sure, it’s going to be an explosive showdown because the two teams have a storied rivalry in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball League,” said Dickies’ Rudy Yu, one of the PSSBC governors.

Another pairing worth watching is the encounter between NU and Mapua.

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