Red Cubs, Staglets show strength
NCAA teams continued to rule the roost in the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) as 20-time champion San Beda and arch rival San Sebastian won their first two games.
With former Philippine U-18 standout Arvie Tolentino, Alejandro Iñigo and Finals MVP Jayvee Mocon at the firing end, the Red Cubs outlasted last year’s UAAP champion National University, 71-66, last week and installed themselves as heavy favorites to rule the inaugural staging of the tournament among the finest junior teams in Metro Manila.
“Their players are now ready to play in college, especially Tolentino,” Dioceldo Sy, member of the board of directors, said. “He’s playing beyond his age, so I will not be surprised if he becomes one of the most-sought after players around.”
The 6-foot-4 Tolentino averaged 17.5 points in two games while Iñigo and Mocon normed 16 and 15, respectively, for the Red Cubs, NCAA’s champions for the last four years who led Group B.
San Beda downed Hope Christian High School, 95-91, in the opener last Oct. 27.
Not to be outdone, the SSC Staglets paced Group A following their stunning 66-58 win over UAAP champion Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws last Sunday where they threw Ateneo-bound Jerie Pingoy out his comfort zone with their solid defense.
The win over the Baby Tamaraws was a fitting follow-up to the Staglets’ 108-98 decision of multititled Xavier School of Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA).
Like the Red Cubs, the Staglets also leaned on their standouts Alfren Gayosa, Michael Calisaan, Jon Macasaet and Onyok Velasco Jr. to stay unbeaten in the tournament sponsored by Wrangler, Welcoat House Paints, Ironcon Builders, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Dickies Underwear, MEC Networks, Blackwater Sports and Hapee Toothpaste.
University of Santo Tomas also shone by downing NU, 72-63, in the opener and Letran, 69-68, in overtime last Sunday.
Meantime, the game between the Red Cubs and the Hope Christians in the opener will be aired on Basketball TV (Channel 34) at 11 p.m. on Wednesday through the sponsorship of Davies Paints and Bon Chon Chicken.
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