ADVEN Diputado hit a buzzer-beating jumper as four-time defending NCAA champion San Beda put one over UAAP reigning titlist Far Eastern University, 80-79, to advance to the semis of the 1st Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) on Sunday at the Chiang Kai Shek College gym in Manila.
In a game filled with the drama of a championship game, the Red Cubs proved to be the steadier team as they rallied from a nine-point deficit early in the payoff period to frustrate the Diliman-based squad.
After burying a big trey, back-to-back UAAP MVP Jerie Pingoy calmly hit two pressure-packed charities that enabled FEU to regain the lead, 79-78, with barely three seconds left.
FEU’s celebration, however, proved to be premature as Diputado eluded his defenders and delivered the game-winning basket.
The win shoved the Red Cubs, proud owners of 20 NCAA titles, to a Final Four showdown with San Sebastian, a team they have beaten in the last two NCAA championships.
The Staglets completed the NCAA domination of their UAAP counterparts after downing University of Santo Tomas, 82-61.
The day’s other big winner was Letran, which stunned reigning Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) champion Chiang Kai Shek College, 67-61.
The Squires, who drew 27 points and a tournament-high 23 rebounds from John Quinto, will face Tiong Lian runner-up Hope Christian High School in the other semis match.
The Hope Christians romped off to a 79-62 win over Xavier School through the 26-point performance of Clint Doliquez.
The semis matches of the event sponsored by Ironcon Builders, MEC Networks, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Blackwater Sports, Wrangler, Welcoat House Paints, and Hapee Toothpaste and Dickies Underwear will be held on Friday, while the finals is on Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
Mocon led the Red Cubs with 22 points and 14 boards while Joshua Caracut and Diputado combined for 24 points.
Pingoy paced the Baby Tams with 20 markers.