St. Clare downs CEU, nears Naascu crownBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jeff Viernes scattered 38 points and Mark Robin Dulalia and Dennis Santos delivered at the crunch as St. Clare downed Centro Escolar, 82-77, yesterday and moved within a win of the National Athletics Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (Naascu) men’s basketball crown at Makati Coliseum.
Dulalia, a lanky 6-foot-3 wingman, hit his only basket with a three-pointer in the final 35 seconds to pull the Saints to an 80-74 lead and Santos made it 82-75 with two free throws with 26 ticks left.
“We were able to follow our game plan [and] I thank my boys for playing their hearts out,” said St. Clare coach Jinno Manansala, who is aiming at giving the Saints their first title in the league.
St. Clare can clinch the title in Game 2 on Monday also at Makati Coliseum.
Viernes scored six straight points at the start of the fourth period as St. Clare regained the lead for good, 72-67, after trailing, 61-63, at the end of the third.
“I dedicate this win to my teammates; they really played hard,” said the 22-year-old Viernes who is in his last season in the league. “I really want to win one last title before I graduate.”
Vin Abundo flicked a free throw and Beldad finished a fastbreak for a 63-61 lead.
Earlier, Aaron Jeruta came up with 20 points to carry Centro Escolar to a 64-50 win over STI in their own best-of-three series for the junior title.
The Senior scores:
ST.CLARE 82—Viernes 38, Jamito 20, Torres 11, Gil 4, Santos 3, Dulalia 3, Lunor 2, Managuelod 0, Torres P. 0.
CEU 77—Garcia 22, Guillen 13, Abundo 12, Magbitang 10, Beldad 8, Batino 4, Alquisalas 3, Pagkatipunan 3, Pedrosa 2, De leon 0, Banua 0, Parale 0, Taclas 0.
Quarters: 15-15, 30-31, 61-63, 82-77