La Consolacion downs PATTS; St. Dominic nips MTC in ISAA opener
LA CONSOLACION College-Manila flashed a new-found toughness in defense to bring down defending champion PATTS College of Aeronautics, 81-67, in a highly-thrilling encounter Tuesday at the start of the 8th Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Royals, handled by former UST Tigers coach Bong dela Cruz, laid waste to the vaunted offensive patterns of the Seahorses with a relentless pressing and trapping defense to open their bid to snap a two-year title drought.
In the second seniors game, host St. Dominic College of Asia weathered Manila Tytana Colleges’ furious counter-attack in the homestretch to escape with a 72-68 triumph.
Earlier, host St. Dominic College of Asia, headed by its president Dr. Gregorio ‘‘Jojo’’ Andaman, treated the crowd of more than 10,000 fans to an hour of colorful dances.
ISAA President and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas trustee Melanie Florentino of FEATI University introduced the guest of honor Sonny Barrios, executive director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Barrios represented newly-elected SBP president Al S. Panlilio, who is on the way to recovery after undergoing a medical procedure.
Ruel dela Rosa of Manila Tytana Colleges declared the tournament open. This year’s season is sponsored by Redfox.
Barrios, also a former PBA Commissioner, stressed the value of hardwork not only in achieving sporting excellence but other endeavors.
He said that hardwork is the reason for the success of his boss, sportsman-businessman Manny V. Pangilinan, who plays a huge role in national team building. Thru the hardwork of MVP, the Philippine was able to host the highly-successful FIBA Asia and the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
In his welcome remarks, Andaman lauded the ISAA for its shared vision of giving students the best. Andaman said this is the right time for the ISAA to strengthen its collaboration not only in sports but to explore other possibilities like in research.
‘‘For example, if we can share our libraries then we can best the libraries of other institutions,’’ Andaman said. He also lauded the ISAA leadership under Florentino for making the organization stronger as ever.
This year’s theme is ‘‘Walong taon ng PagkakaISAA para sa Kabataang Atleta.’’
Alexandra Que of Manila Tytana Colleges was crowned as Ms.ISAA 2016, while Toni Anne Magno of Saint Dominic finished first runnerup. Stephanie Sameniano of Philippine Merchant Marine School won as Ms. Redfox and finished second runnerup.
‘‘The tournament is a long way to go but this is a good start. We polished our defense during the offseason,’’ said Dela Cruz. The Blue Royals got big numbers from Juan Miguel Gula, Renz Rivota, John Daryl Salomon, Thurlough Grealy and Marc Obado.
An added twist to PATTS’ setback was the failure of last year’s Most Valuable Player Jhon Paul Manansala to play a single minute.
Manansala, who even led the oath of sportsmanship, watched from the bench as the coaching staff headed by Lency Aransazo and sports director Benjie Herbnandez decided not to field him for brinnging the wrong color of the playing short.
‘‘To avoid problem, we’ve decided not to let him play. This should serve as a lesson,’’ said Hernandez.
But even without the high-scoring Manansala, the Seahorses, backed by a wild-cheering crowd, took the half, 37-33, and remained in the thick of the fight before the Blue Royals put the pressure in the third.
Greatly had two completed steals, while Gula and Salomon converted two straight triples as LCC-M slowly break away, 62-48.
‘‘Of course, the absence of Manansala helped us. That player is a scoring machine. But myplayers deserved to win,’’ said Dela Cruz.
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