The San Beda Red Cubs were champions from 2009 to 2015.
In Game 3 of the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association junior basketball finals, the team was put in an unfamiliar situation.
They hardly experienced the situation of being left behind by a big margin in the first period.
(Brian Lacap (8) in a rebound play with San Beda’s Sam Abu Hijle, with Bryan Samudio(13) ready to provide assistance)
Coach JB Sison admitted that the players felt pressured and frustrated at having to play catch in the first three quarters.
What the Red Robins did to them in the first period was something they will never forget.
“I was expecting a closer game because this is a deciding game. Pero, the whole game, we were trying to catch up,” said Sison after the game.
(Clint Escamis (10) waits for a pass from teammate following a loose ball situation inside the paint).
Carlo Obenza led the Red Cubs with 14 points while Addie Velasquez also had 14, and Mahinay added 11.
The Red Cubs tried to be in control in the opening minutes of the game.
Sam Abu Hijle scored off a defensive rebound by Evan Nelle in the last 9:12 to tie the match for the first time, 2-all.
(Bryan Samudio (13) goes for a drive past Sam Abu Hijle (16)).
He struck again following a turnover by Jasper Salenga, and the Red Cubs took the lead, 4-2,
The Red Robins turned the ball over again, but misses by Peter Alfaro and Abu Hijle allowed the Red Robins to force a 4-all tie off Clint Escamis’ attack.
After Rob Nayve turned the ball over for third time for San Beda, the Red Robins began making their moves to move away.
(Juaqui Garcia (17) is harassed by San Beda’s Robi Nayve (7)).
Their first chance came when Brian Lacap hit a three, 7-4, off Clint Escamis’ assist, with 7:23 to go
The Red Cubs still managed to stay within range, 6-7, off Nayve’s basket, with 6:50.
But, Escamis had an answer, and Mapua stayed up by three, 9-6.
(Josh Tagala (5) of San Beda takes possession of the ball while Mapua teammates Jasper Salenga (middle) and Warren Bonifacio (15) prepare to intercept).
They had a chance to forced a deadlock, but Peter Alfaro missed a triple, and Garcia scored off Bonifacio’s rebound in the next play, 11-6.
Then, Obenza came in for Alfaro and turned the ball over.
Garcia turned this into a golden opportunity for the Red Robins, his drive with 5:37 left moving the Red Robins further ahead, 13-6.
(rebound play from (16) Sam Abu Hijle and Clint Escamis (10) and with Mapua player Warren Bonifacio (15)).
Mahinay tried to keep it close with his inside play that yield a basket and a charity, 13-9, of Escamis’ foul.
Then, three-point play by Salenga off Obenza foul with 4:45 to go kept MHSS up, 16-9.
Samudio then forced Prince Etrata to a dribbing error, and scored off it in the final 3:52, 18-9.
(San Beda’s Carlo Obenza goes for a drive past two Mapua defenders).
They later took an 11-point lead. 22-11, off Escamis’ two freebies after he stole off Prince Etrata and got fouled by Obenza in the last 1:31.
Etrata turned the ball over again, and Lacap made his mark in the last 1:05, and Mapua’s edge went up by 13, 24-11, and moments before the first period ended.
(To be continued).