Third time's the charm as Red Cubs ground Magis Eagles to claim NBTC Division 1 crown
Evan Nelle contributed 18 points, five rebounds, and three steals on his way to winning the Most Outstanding Player plum. Jaime Campos

SAN Beda ended its title drought in Division 1 play after beating Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, 79-61, on Thursday in the SM NBTC National High School Championship presented by Freego at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Red Cubs finally picked up the championship victory since Metro Manila schools joined the NBTC in 2014. San Beda also bowed in its previous two finals appearances, including in 2015 when they lost to the Magis Eagles.

Evan Nelle contributed 18 points, five rebounds, and three steals on his way to winning the Most Outstanding Player plum of the tournament.

The Red Cubs broke away in the third period via a 31-17 output for a 59-47 lead entering the final canto.

Peter Alfaro scored 14 points, while Prince Etrata had 10 points. Sam Abu Hijleh added 10 points and 11 rebounds for San Beda.

Travis Mantua had 14 points, five rebounds, and six assists, while Eroll Pastor chipped in 13 points and 16 rebounds for Ateneo de Cebu.

San Beda coach JB Sison said the title was a culmination of the players’ development as the current batch began in the NBTC in Division 2 during their earlier days in high school.

“Siyempre masaya kasi eto ‘yung goal, nakuha namin. I’m proud of the boys kasi nag-start sila Division 2. Nag-level up na sila tapos nag-champion sila sa Division 1,” said Sison.

Nelle and Alfaro were named to the Mythical Five along with Mantua, Pastor, and Andrew Velasco of Ateneo de Cebu.

Fil-American Kamaka Hepa of Filam Sports USA was named Defensive Player of the Tournament.

The scores:

San Beda (79)—Nelle 18, Alfaro 15, Etrata 10, Abu Hilje 10, Obenza 8, Sese 6, Nayve 4, Tagala 3, Mahinay 3, Barbero 2, Velasquez 0, Garcia 0, Dela Rosa 0.

Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (61)—Mantua 14, Velasco 13, Pastor 13, Nacua 6, Visser 6, Yu 5, Cutamora 2, Manaytay 2, Chua 0, Tuadles 0, Calumpang 0, Javelosa 0, Lapina 0, Yu 0.

Quarters: 11-11, 28-28, 59-47, 79-61.

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