IT will be defending champion St. Clare College-Caloocan against De Ocampo Memorial College in the finals of the Naascu Season 17 basketball tournament.
St. Clare subdued Colegio de San Lorenzo, 78-70, while De Ocampo crushed St. Francis of Assisi College, 81-65, to arrange a best-of-three title series at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
Game One is on Monday.
Mohamed Pare, the 6-foot-6 exchange student from the Republic of Mali, saved his best for last as the Saints outscored the Griffins, 11-3, in the final 2:41 of the tensely-fought encounter to complete a two-game sweep of the semis.
Pare scored six of his 16 points while being guarded by CdSL import Soulemane Chabi Yo and Jon Gabriel during the game-changing run that enabled the Caloocan City-based Saints to break a deadlock at 67.
Pare’s heroics came after reigning Naascu MVP Aris Dionisio fouled out while trying to stop a fastbreak layup by Jan Formento that tied the score for the last time at 67-all.
Formento missed his free throw for the Griffins and watched the Saints hit six straight points for a 73-67 lead with 1:38left.
Dionisio finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out, while Pare added 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Junjie Hallare added 14 points, Irven Palencia contributed 13 and Paeng Rebugio had 11 for the Saints.
Chabi Yo led CdSL with 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks but also committed nine turnovers, two in the closing minute.
Gabriel, one of the top prospects in the coming PBA Draft, added 10 points.
De Ocampo had an easier time in eliminating St. Francis.
Dahrrel Caranguian, Jhonard Clarito and Igi Boy Sabasaje combined for 47 points for the Cobras, who steadily pulled away in the middle quarters.
Caraguian finished with 22 points, while Clarito added 15 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Cobras, who gave coach Ronnie Dojillo a fitting birthday gift.
Luke Parcero and Ramlee Lanoy led the Doves’ with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
De Ocampo 81 - Caranguian 22, Clarito 15, Sabasaje 10, Fabro 9, Atabay 8, Dela Cruz 6, Wenceslao 3, Ramos 3, Manalang 3, Gallardo 2, Cañeles 0.
St. Francis 65 - Parcero 16, Lanoy 14, Tolosa 12, Chu 8, Cruz 6, Cenita 5, Larotin 2, Ramos 2, Madrid 0
Quarterscores: 16-14; 44-33; 71-49; 81-65.
St. Clare 78 - Dionisio 17, Pare 16, Hallare 14, Palencia 13, Rebugio 10, Alcober 6, Rubio 2, Mendoza 0, Fuentes 0, Puspus 0.
San Lorenzo 70 - Chabi Yo 32, Gabriel 10, Callano 8, Formento 8, Rojas 4, Laman 3, Alvarado 2, Baldevia 2, Sablan 1, Vargas 0.
Quarterscores: 14-23; 38-44; 51-51; 78-70.