CHIANG Kai Shek College outlasted UAAP champion National University in double overtime, 73-71, even as NCAA titlist San Beda College fired a stern warning at the start of the 3rd Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship Ironcon Builders Cup on Saturday.
JV Gallego and Fran Yu came through with clutch plays as the Blue Dragons outduelled the NU Bullpups at crunch time in their Group A showdown witnessed by a sizeable crowd at the CKSC gym in Tondo, Manila.
“It was a tough game and we’re just lucky to pull off the win because NU also has a solid basketball program,” said CKSC Coach Goldwyn Monteverde. “Hopefully, we can build on this momentum.”
Gallego led all scorers with 29 points while Yu contributed nine markers, including the marginal basket off a perfect feed from Rafael Toribio in the dying seconds as the Blue Dragons virtually clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the four-group tournament presented by Ironcon Builders.
Led by the bull-strong Mark Dyke, the Bullpups appeared headed for a big win after leading by 61-56 with less than a minute left in regulation but Gallego sparked a blazing finish with two vital free throws that helped turn things around.
Meanwhile, PBA chairman Pato Gregorio, who represented Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan, lauded the efforts of the PSSBC board of governors, saying the tournament is “the grassroots of the highest order.”
Not to be outdone, the Red Cubs, coming off a record-setting 21st NCAA title, downed UP Integrated School, 79-63, in Group BD action of the tournament also backed by MEC Computers, Dickies Underwear, Jumbo Plastic Lineleum, Hapee Toothpaste, Rain or Shine, Blackwater-Ever Bilena, Hapee Toothpaste and Freego.
Niko Abatayo scored 13 points to lead a balance attack for the Red Cubs, who are hoping to improve on their runner-up showing last year.
In other games, Far Eastern University used its height and heft advantage to demolish St. Stephen High School, 98-55, in Group B while multi-titled Xavier clobbered UE, 78-60, in Group C.
Tyler Tio starred for Xavier with 28 points highlighted by four triples, including one that triggered the team’s breakaway midway through the first quarter.
Aside from Gregorio, also gracing the opening rites were Gilas coach Chot Reyes, Butch Antonio and Ranidel de Ocampo who received the P1 million bonus promised by Hapee’s Dr. Cecilio Pedro, Blackwater-Ever Bilena’s Dioceldo Sy and Freego’s Eduard Tio.
Officials from UAAP, NCAA and Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball League, led by Dr. Dory Poa also graced the occasion.
Meantime, the game between Xavier and UE will be shown today on Aksyon TV.