Hope Christian trips Xavier in game one of Tiong Lian caging finalsBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Hope Christian High School hung tough in the fourth period to trip Xavier School, 74-66, in game one of the 43rd Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) tournament.
Jolo Go uncorked seven three-pointers, including two in the payoff period, to finish with 23 points for Hope Christian, which goes for the finish in game two of the best-of-three finals series on Monday.
Jobert Mercado had 13, John Apacible added 10 points, along with 19 big rebounds for last year’s runner ups, who escaped with the win even after turning the ball over 22 times — 13 more than Xavier did.
Even with Xavier closing in after three quarters, Hope Christian managed to safeguard the lead with Mercado, Leo Guion, and Arjan Cruz also pitching in the points.
National youth team standout Kyles Lao, meanwhile, sizzled with a game-best 33 points — along with six rebounds and five assists — but could not lift his squad single-handedly.
Christian Tio added nine points for Xavier, which, meanwhile, was sorely outrebounded, 31-52.
After allowing Hope Christian to create distance in the second quarter, Xavier made adjustments over the intermission and cut through the 14-point deficit at the half and pulled within 51-57 at the end of third.