GIL Marte struck with a crucial three-pointer in the stretch to lead St. Clare to a 70-66 triumph over Philippine Merchant Marine School and won for the Saints the men’s basketball crown of the 21st National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) Wednesday at the Makati Coliseum.
Marte, who was not supposed to take the shot in that play, found his range in the last 12.5 seconds, his trey shattering a 66-all deadlock and helping the Saints sweep their best-of-three showdown with the Mariners.
Eric Acuna split his free throw with 4.7 seconds left to finalize the count for the Saints.
The title conquest is the first ever for the Saints right in their inaugural season in this cagefest supported by Mikasa and Molten Balls.
Jayson Ibay, hailed as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) finished with 24 points to lead the Saints, who took Game 1 behind a 70-53 crushing of the Mariners.
Ibay was supposed to go for a layup after the Mariners forced a 64-all tie behind Dan Reverente. But his teammate John Acebron found the shaded lane too crowded, opting to pass the ball to Marte instead.
Marte finished with just five points.
“Sobrang hirap. Ganoon talaga. Undefeated kami going into Game 2. Medyo na-pressure iyung mga players ko, hanggang fourth quarter. Pero last four minutes, doon kami nag-step-up. Kaya nakuha namin iyung lamang,” said Saints’ coach Jinino Manansala, a former varsity standout of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
The Saints finished the season undefeated in 14 games, having swept their 12-game elimination-round assignment.
Earlier, the La Salle-Dasmarinas Lady Patriots banked on the charities of Kat Mangahas and MVP Jessa Tarroja to beat the Rizal Technological University Lady Thunders, 57-55, and claim the women’s honors via a two-game sweep.
Mangahas had 19 points, including two freebies in the last 38 seconds, which lifted the Lady Patriots past a 54-55 deficit, while Tarroja’s last charity iced the game for the Cavitenas.
First game (women)
La Salle-Dasmarinas (57) -- Mangahas 19, de Leon 14, Tarroja 12, Jumawan 11, Caraan 1.
RTU (55) -- Duazo 21, Jaberto 8, Francisco 7, Ayhon 6, Inoferio 4, Ybanez 3, Rodriguez 3, Dionisio 3, Daguman 0.
Quarterscores: 13-15; 29-27; 42-38; 57-55.
Second game (men)
St. Clare (70) -- Ibay 24, Dulalia 17, Bolos 8, Almibuldto 8, Marte 5, Managuelod 4, Acuna 1.
PMMS (66) -- Reverente 21, Manlutac 15, Yagonia 13, Debulcos 5, Villamayor 4, Trinidad 3, Quilatan 3, Chan 2, Gonato 0, Pasia 0.
Quarterscores: 12-20; 35-30; 52-43; 70-66.