Former UM stars power St. Clare past STI, 70-68By Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
One team’s loss was another’s gain.
St. Clare, powered by stars from the absent University of Manila, nipped last year’s runner-up STI, 70-68, Wednesday to jumpstart the Saints’ campaign in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities at Makati Coliseum.
League MVPs Jeff Viernes and Eugene Torres scored the important points for the Caloocan-based school which posted its first victory over STI in seven years in the league.
Viernes and Torres along with Jay Mark Mallari and Jeric Baylen moved to St. Clare after UM took a leave of absence and abandoned the basketball program which gave the Hawks seven titles in the league and several others in past national inter-collegiate championships.
“We are practically a new team, and the new additions will definitely be a big factor in our campaign to win the title this year,” said St. Clare coach Jinno Manansala, who is a former UM juniors coach.
Manansala, son of PBA great Jimmy Manansala and a former University of Santo Tomas cager, also transferred to the Saints as their head coach with Benjie Diswe as his assistant.
St. Clare president and Naascu head Dr. Ernest Jay Adalem said league rules allow players from a school that has taken a leave to transfer to a member-school of their choice.
“We are much stronger now but we can’t be so sure because other teams are also in contention and we have to work on our teamwork,” said Adalem.
Viernes, last year’s MVP, scattered 31 points to lead the Saints, while 2010 rookie-MVP Torres added eight markers.
Aby Chavez topscored for the Olympians with 15 points, while Rick Morales and Cedric Ablaza contributed 14 and 11 points.
In other games, New Era leaned on Leo Roncal and Mac Sevilla to rout City University of Pasay, 89-76, while Centro Escolar clobbered Trace College of Laguna, 72-55.
Roncal and Sevilla scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, for the Hunters. They were supported by Symon Santos with 14 points, Crysferd Sarmiento (13) and Angelo Bebit (11).
The Eagles got 23 points from Eric Sarmiento, while Gio Ramos and Jayson Tanao-tanao chalked 16 and 11, respectively.
ST. CLARE 70—Viernes 31, Gil 13, E. Torres 8, Managuelod 6, Santos 4, P. Torres 3, Ambilodto 3, Lunor 2, Mercado 0, Jamito 0.
STI 68—Chavez 15, Morales 14, Ablaza 11, Sabellinan 8, Lara 5,Moreno 5, Bocablo 4, Moraga 3, Riva 2, Labis 1, Dela Pena 0, Ortega 0.
Quarters: 16-18, 32-39, 56-54, 70-68