MANILA, Philippines — It might have just been an exhibition game, but their competitive fire will always come out.
It was all fun and games at first in a clash of select UAAP and NCAA stars in the Master Game Face All-Star Basketball Challenge, but defense turned up and the clutch players stood out when crunch time came.
Team Borgie (Hermida), led by Far Eastern University’s RR Garcia, nipped Team Chris (Tiu) 89-88 on Saturday night at the Arena in San Juan.
Down by six with 2:33 to play, Team Borgie went on game-clinching 9-2 run, capped by a clutch triple by Garcia with 58.8 seconds left.
A basket by Ray Parks in the ensuing play, taking advantage of a miscue by Jeron Teng with 35.4 seconds left, then put them ahead and set the final count.
Team Chris, though, had a chance to snatch the game but Emmanuel Mbe swatted away Karim Abdul’s attempt in the final possession.
“It’s basketball, it’s competitive. We really wanted win. It’s a good thing we stepped up,” said Parks in the post game interview.
Garcia led Team Borgie with 22 points, while Parks and Mbe, both playing for National University, added 14 and nine.
Hermida, a standout from San Beda and now a key cog for NLEX in the PBA D-League, scored one over Tiu, a former Ateneo stalwart now with Rain or Shine in the PBA, as a head coach.
“It was my first time to coach, and I’m glad we won,” said Hermida, who won several titles in the NCAA with the Red Lions.
The game provided a preview of what it would’ve been like had brothers Jeron and Jeric Teng played together in college, or if sought-after rookie Jerie Pingoy played in the UAAP this year.
“Coaching all these superstars is a joy and a great honor,” said Tiu. “But challenge [on how to use everybody], otherwise it was really fun,” said Tiu.
University of Santo Tomas’ Kevin Ferrer was the lone player from Team Chris who would up with double-digits points with 12.
Borgie 89 — Garcia 22, Parks 14, Mbe 9, Tolomia 9, Dela Rosa 8, Semerad D. 6, Pinto 4, Paras 4, Jamon 4, Amer 3, Adeogun 2, Pascual 2, Asilum 2, Marata 0, Neypes 0.
Chris 88 — Ferrer 12, Cabrera 9, Torres 8, Newsome 8, Teng 7, Pingoy 7, Ravena 6, Mariano 5, Cruz M. 5, Almazan 4, Tiongson 3, Perkins 3, Van Opstal 3, Teng 2, Abdul 2, Cruz J. 2, Sumang 2, Montalbo 0.
Quarters: 21-22, 43-50, 66-70, 89-88.