NCAA champion San Beda made a strong statement by downing reigning UAAP title holder National University while defending champion Hope Christian High School outlasted longtime rival Xavier School to advance to the semis of the 2nd Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) over the weekend at the Chiang Kai Shek College in Manila.
Ranbill Tongco starred in San Beda’s telling third-quarter run as the Red Cubs exploded for 33 points for a 90-75 victory over the Bullpups to cruise to the Final Four undefeated after completing a five-game sweep of their group elims.
Hope Christian, on the other hand, got a big lift from Joebert Mercado to score an 89-73 decision over the Golden Stallions and forge a grudge semifinal showdown with San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
The Staglets, who lost to Hope Christian in the finals last year, outclassed Jose Rizal University, 84-69, in the event sponsored by MEC Computer, Wrangler, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Ironcon Builders, Hapee Toothpaste, Welcoat Paints, Dickies Underwear, Ever Bilena, Davies Paint and Spray & Seal Tire Sealant.
Mapua continued its magical run by stunning UAAP runner-up Ateneo, 83-71, thanks to Justin Serrano who led the team’s well-balanced attack with 16 markers.
Three other Mapua players scored in double figures as the team claimed its second big win after downing NU last Wednesday.
“Mapua has been a revelation so we expect a battle royale on Wednesday,” said Jimmy dela Cruz, one of the league’s shareholders.
UAAP MVP Thirdy Ravena paced Ateneo with 18 points despite Mapua’s tough defense.
Tongco had 12 of his 14 points in the decisive third period as he joined hands with big men Arvin Tolentino, Franz Abuda, and Javyee Mocon in a blistering 24-2 run to erect a 59-45 advantage which they gallantly protected.
Mercado turned in eight of his 13 second half points in the third canto as Hope Christian steadily pulled away, turning what was expected to be a tight contest into a rout.
John Apacible, who stands at 6-foot-3, led Hope with 19 points and 15 boards.