The STI NBT 2017 National Champions
STI College Santa Rosa
The last time STI College Santa Rosa was in the STI NBT Finals two years ago, their fourth quarter meltdown literally gave the game away as STI College Global City ran away with the crown. Last school year, they got shocked by a determined STI College Malolos team in the cross-over semifinals and they never got to the finals. This year, Team Santa Rosa went back to the basics – excellent defense, teamwork and focus which was the key in bagging their first ever STI National Basketball Tournament title by beating defending champion STI West Negros University 84 – 72.
June Aliparo does what he does best
STI College Santa Rosa’s prized guard June Aliparo used this year’s championship game as his grand stage as he erased the ghost of past frustrations and turned it into a glorious ending as he pumped in 38 points to lead the Laguna cagers to victory. If one were to say that Aliparo was unstoppable would be an understatement as he scored at will to give the Santa Rosa squad the lead and consistently punctured the hoops every time the West Negros team would come back.
Belocura on the drive
The game started with both teams sizing each other up and trying different ways to score and stop the other team from scoring as both teams battled toe to toe and played superb defense – the defense that is usually played during championships. The defending champs had Renz Solomon, Paulo Pontevedra, Rouichi Belocura and Max Dunlap score their 11 first quarter points while Santa Rosa had Aliparo and veteran guard Raul Guerrero score the nine points on the defenses that were provided them.
Intense battle of big men
When the second quarter came, it was June Aliparo time as the sharp shooting Santa Rosa guard scored sixteen of his team’s 27 points on two for two shooting from the two point area and four of five from beyond the arc. The defending champs take pride on their defense and they threw everything on Aliparo but unfortunately for them there are some things in basketball that cannot be defended – a person’s heart. Aliparo showed how big his heart was as he single-handedly carried the Santa Rosa offensive load.
Jan Almoro on the drive
STI West Negros was about to take control of the second quarter when they led 16 – 12 after Solomon sank a three pointer. Sensing a run that was about to happen, Santa Rosa Coach called a time-out with still 8 minutes to go in the quarter. After the time-out, Aliparo scored ten points and presided over a 14 to 4 run that turned the tables around and give STI College Santa Rosa a 28 – 20 lead with 4:59 to go before half-time. The Laguna team eventually held on to the lead at the end of the half 36 – 28.
Aliparo posts up Solomon
At the start of the third period, STI West Negros began to come back as the defending champs put the cuffs on the Laguna based Santa Rosa team that saw Belocura and Adjie force some turnovers, score and infect their team mates with their defense. STI WNU eventually tied the count at 40 – all after Charry Cadase hit a three pointer with still 8:03 left in the period. Both teams would eventually fight it out tooth for tooth in the final eight minutes that saw Santa Rosa up a notch 61 – 58 at the end of the third quarter.
Garcia scores on this jumper
The fourth quarter was all about focus and team work for team Santa Rosa. Team Santa Rosa was holding on to a 67 – 62 lead with eight minutes left and both teams showed excellent defense by not allowing anyone to score in a two minute span. Then came June Aliparo’s game switching, momentum turning, Title changing three pointer that broke the backs of the defending champs as it put the Laguna cagers ahead 70 – 62 with six minutes left in the game and momentum at their side.
Renz Solomon drives to the hoop
At this point, the Bacolod based defending champs looked like there was no more gas in their tanks as their pressure defense was easily broken by the Santa Rosa press break that resulted in baskets from Rey Romualdo, Jan Almoro and Jestoni Hercia. The Santa Rosa team defense on the other hand forced the West Negros team to a paltry 20% shooting in the fourth quarter as the West Negros team missed sixteen field goals that spelled their doom. In story book fashion, Aliparo would ice the game with his two free throws and give them their well-deserved championship.
The STI NBT Most Valuable Player
STI COllege Ortgias - Cainta
June Aliparo’s efforts were recognized as he lifted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament trophy. He was also part of the Mythical five team together with his teammate Jan Almoro, STI WNU’s Jaycee Adjie and Renz Solomon and Jerico Nograles of STI College Las Pinas.
The STI NBT 2017 Mythical 5
The road to redemption for STI College Santa Rosa was a long challenging but fulfilling one. For Raul Guerrero and Rey Romualdo, their sacrifices proved to be worth it as they played out their final game with honour and they earned the respect of their peers. Both players were instrumental in the final quarter and it was just fitting that both scored 12 points apiece to end their NBT careers on a high note. That means that next year will be another exciting battle as all mythical five players will be back while the rest of the fifty one schools will be loaded with talents for next year’s NBT. Until then, let us savor this victory first for STI College Santa Rosa – the STI National Baskaetbll Tournament National Champions.
The Box Scores:
STI COLLEGE SANTA ROSA (84)
Aliparo 38, Guerrero 12, Romualdo 12, Almoro 8, Hercia Jes. 7, Karamihan 4, Fabic 3, Hercia Jer. 0, Proximo 0, Ursabia 0, Regalado 0, Dimaranan 0,
STI WEST NEGROS (72)
Cadase 21, Solomon 17 , Adjei 12, Belocura 11 Carmona 5, Dunlap 4, Pontevedra 2, Carumba 0,
Quarter scores: 9 – 11, 36 – 28, 61 – 58, 84 – 72