The Chiang Kai Shek College (CKSC) Blue Dragons booked another finals appearance after defeating Mapua-Malayan High School of Science, 92-78, in the semifinals of the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championships (PSSBC) MEC Networks Cup at the SGS Stadium in Quezon City on Saturday.
Blue Dragon John Galinato, who was hailed Best Player of the game finished with 20 points and two assists.
Donn Lim had 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds while Jonas Tibayan and Rafael Toribio scored 16 and 13 points, respectively, also for the Blue Dragons.
“Our defense paid off during the second half and we were able to maintain the lead until the final buzzer,” said CKSC head coach Goldywn Monteverde in a postgame interview.
The combined effort of Toribio and Lim powered the Blue Dragons to an early 12-9 lead over the Red Robins. CKSC further stretched the gap to six points, 24-18, by the end of first quarter.
In the second period, the Red Robin’s initiated a 13-0 run behind the efforts of Lacap, Junsay and Gozum to snatch the lead 41-39.
Mapua kept their advantage, 46-45, going into the third quarter until the Blue Dragons retaliated to recapture the lead, 55-48, with 6:25 seconds left.
“We were caught inconsistent in the second quarter that’s why we lost our lead. We cannot underscore them (Mapua). They are the No. 1 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) team today,” Monteverde added.
Clint Escamis, meanwhile, led Mapua with 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Romuel Junsay contributed 19 markers, four assists and four boards.
In the earlier game, Adamson University overpowered the La Salle Greenhills (LSGH) Greenies, 83-77, to get the first finals berth.
The bronze medal match between LSGH and Mapua will start at 1:30 p.m. today, while the finals game between PSSBC defending champion CKSC and AdU will begin at 3:15 p.m.
“I expect that they will really give us a tough game. But, we will fight the battle. I am excited because this is our second championship and we have a chance to score a back-to-back title. We will do our best and effort to get that win,” said 18-year old Galinato of Cebu City.
Monteverde reminded both teams to play with pride in their finals match.
“I am happy that both teams are here in the finals. I expect a tight game tomorrow (today) but I wish both of them will play with pride,” he concluded.