CHARLES Chong produced the biggest shot of his young, blooming career as Uno High School pulled off a thrilling 54-53 win over St. Jude Catholic School and ruled the Juniors Division of the 1st Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) Friday at the Uno High School Gym in Manila.
In what turned out to be the finest 10 minutes of his life, Chong scored all his seven points in the payoff period, including the game-winning layup with barely five seconds remaining to help the Uneans become the first champion team of the fledging tournament.
Chong’s heroics came after St. Jude’s Francis Go uncharacteristically missed his two free throws in the final 13.5 seconds, giving Uno the opportunity to plot their final play for the win and a piece of history in the tournament sponsored by Boysen Paints, Valentino Watches and Clocks, Sony Xperia, Duralite Sandals and Nougat Peanut Bar.
With time running out, St. Jude’s Earl See hurriedly launched a long three-point shot at the buzzer which failed to find its mark, triggering a wild celebration among Uno players and supporters.
The championship was a fitting farewell for Uno coach Milton Yu who is set to retire after 30 years of dedicated service to the school which entered the finals enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage after completing a 10-game sweep of the double-round elims.
Uno, however, was forced to play a rubber match after St. Jude hacked out a gutsy 63-60 triple overtime win last Wednesday.
The win gave the Judenites the extra zest as they took the initiative early before padding their lead to 12, 31-19, late in the first half.
But things started to change dramatically to Uno’s favor late in the third before Chong joined hands with Clinton Chua, Vic Jason See, and Kyle Christian Tan in the fourth quarter where they knotted the count four times – the last at 50-all.
Chua led Uno with 17 points highlighted by two triples, while See and Tan chipped in 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Renzel Yongco paced the host squad with 20 points and six boards.