ELDRIGE Corpus drove in with 1.4 seconds left to lift defending champion Olivarez College past Philippine Merchant Marine School, 64-63, Tuesday in the 21st National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) men’s basketball tournament.
Corpus, who got a crucial pass from Mark Madera, finished with 18 points as the Sea Lions climbed to second spot with their eighth win in 11 outings when action ended at the Rizal Technological University gymnasium in Mandaluyong City.
This allowed the Sea Lions to solidify their hold on the second semifinals seat, which they can formally secure if they hurdle Philippine School of Business Administration on Wednesday.
The Mariners, who dropped to third place with their 7-4 card, gave the Sea Lions a scare in the final minute.
They rallied from five points down, with Dan Reverente’s drive in the last 56 seconds allowing PMMS to threaten at 57-62.
A triple from Sany Trinidad in the next play, followed by Reverente’s split charity allowed the Mariners to overtake the Sea Lions, 63-62, before Corpus came through with his game-winner.
“Muntik na. Buti na lang, nakakita ng opportunity sa ilalim sila Madera at Corpus (We almost lost. Good thing Madera and Corpus found an opening underneath),” said Sea Lions coach Mike Saguiguit.
Meanwhile, the RTU sank six of eight free throw attempts in the last 23 seconds to beat the Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite, 72-67.
Jopet Quiro showed the way with 21 points for RTU, which is a win away from formally claiming the last semis slot with their 5-6 card.
In women’s action, RTU and La Salle-Dasmarinas stayed unbeaten after six games.
Rica Francisco and Angelica Jaberto had 12 points each in leading RTU to a 71-52 smothering of EAC-Cavite, even as Jessa Tarroja fired 24 points for DLSU-Dasmarinas, which trounced PMMS, 82-37.