10 October 2014,
Filoil-Flying V Arena,
The Malayan High School of Science (the original name of the Mapua High School team) Red Robins got big plays from David Velvez during a crucial run in the last quarter.
It almost like their game against the La Salle Greenhills Greenies in their last game in the eliminations.
Velvez, who scored his highest output this season with 28 points, came up with the big plays to lead the Red Robins to an 87-78 swamping of the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs.
(file photo of David Velvez).
This earned the Red Robins the top seeding in the Final Four semifinals of the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Junior Basketball tournament.
The Red Robins, who went into a playoff with the Red Cubs after both topped the elimination round with similar 15-3 win-loss records, will get to face the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
- Play by play
Did not get to watch this game, but according to my friend, Anthony Servinio, the Red Cubs, behind by six at the end of the third period, 31-36
(Sherwin Concepcion in action).
This is surprising because the Red Cubs are known to always have a strong start in their games in the past, and when I watched them play in the semis last year.
And in their first ever playoff for the no. 1 seeding in years, the Red Robins were able to jump the gun on them by taking a 27-18 lead in the first quarter, and then take a 46-40 lead at halftime.
Their rally in the opening minutes of the of the fourth period allowed them to tie the game for the second and final time at 71-71.
In the closing minutes, Velvez stepped up and led an 11-0 scoring run which gave the Red Robins an 82-71 advantage.
As the Red Cubs fought back, 77-82. Velvez, Sherwin Concepcion and Laurenz Victoria then sank five out of eight from the free throw line to preserve the win.
The victory was the Red Robins’ first over the Red Cubs this season.
(Evan Furaque of San Beda).
They had earlier lost their elimination round games to Red Cubs, 89-97, in the first round, and, 63-67, in the second round.
-Memorable showing for Velvez
The game of the 18-year old Velvez will be remembered as his best showing in recent memory.
His previous best this season was 16 points during the elimination round.
Concepcion, on the other hand, struck with 18, and he also had 10 rebounds.
Evan Jacob Furaque, who was closely guarded by Velvez, led the Red Cubs with 18 points while Norrish Decapia with 14.
Velvez, in my postgame talks with him, said he and his teammates felt that they did not want a repeat of their Final Four experience last year, when they played against La Salle Greenhills.
“Ayaw po naming maulit iyun. Hindi kami nakapasok pagkatapos maka-shoot ng tres si (Michael) de la Cruz,” recalled Velvez.
(For more on the Red Robins’ Final Four experience last year, you can view it at https://pektuscorner.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/varsity-sports-updates-ncaa-junior-basketball-results-prince-rivero-grabs-season-mvp-honors-lsgh-beats-mapua-in-semis-playoff/).
The Red Robins will now prepare to meet the fourth seed Jose Rizal Light Bombers in the Final Four.
In the other matchup, the Red Cubs will go against the third seed Letran Squires.
“Babawi kami. Masaki tang pagkatalo naming last year. Taon naming ngayon,” added Velvez.
The Red Robins may have the twice-to-beat edge.
But, the Light Bombers are not expected to go down that easily.
JRU coach Nathaniel Gregorio has till battlecry for his team.
“We Will and We Can!!!…. Proud to be in final 4,” said Gregorio in his Facebook page.
Mapua (Malayan Science) 87 – Velvez 28, Concepcion 18, Aguirre 13, Pascua 13, Victoria 9, Lugo 6, Calderon 0, Enriquez 0, Salenga 0, Cabural 0, Bonifacio 0.
San Beda 78 – Furaque 18, Decapia 14, Caracut 12, Abuhijle 10, Diputado 9, Abatayo 8, Bordeos 4, Framil 3, Alas 2, Geralao 0.
Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-40, 67-61, 87-78.