What was billed as the battle of big guns lived up to its billing with both teams coming up with superb plays and intense action. But when the smoke cleared STI College Santa Rosa came up with more fire power to conquer their long-time nemesis STI College Balagtas 66 – 46 to take control of the top spot of Group B of the STI National Basketball Tournament National Finals.
STI College Santa Rosa hotshot June Aliparo lived up to his billing by drilling in 24 points to lead all scorers. This time Aliparo got the needed support as former Basketball Showdown MVP Jan Almoro had a double double by coming up with 12 points and 12 rebounds while chalking up three steals and two blocks in an all- around game that STI College Balagtas had no answer to. STI College Balagtas was led by their point guard Ivan Macapagal who had 12 points.
Ivan Macapagal paced STI College Balagtas
The first three quarters had the makings of another blockbuster game as STI College Santa Rosa seized the upper hand early on as they started the game 7 – 0. After a ceasefire, STI College Balagtas slowly inched back but could only manage seven first quarter points as STI College Santa Rosa forced their rivals to 2 of 16 shooting from the field (12.5%) as the Laguna cagers took advantage of their rivals woeful shooting to lead the first quarter 13 – 7.
Rey Romualdo on the putback
In the second quarter, STI College Balagtas turned the tables around by showing up with good hustling defense and picking the pockets of the STI College Santa Rosa team. The Bulacan cagers forced the Laguna team to nine turnovers that they translated into eleven turnover points. Their defense eventually got the Balagtas team into the game and they eventually caught up on their arch-rivals by taking the lead 24 – 23 with less than a minute left in the quarter. STI College Santa Rosa closed out the half to lead 25 – 24.
Jason Maglalang scores
The third quarter saw June Aliparo wax hot as he fueled a 12 – 0 Santa Rosa run to give his team a 37 – 24 lead that forced STI College Balagtas to call a time-out. STI College Balagtas would then counter with a 7 – 0 run of their own as Ivan Macapagal’s three pointer gave life to the Balagtas offense. Both teams would engage in a defensive game as STI College Santa Rosa scored 24 third quarter points to give them a 49 – 41 lead going to the final ten minutes of the game.
The fourth quarter separated the men from the boys as STI College Santa Rosa once again opened strong with a 13 – 0 run as the Laguna team broke down the vaunted Bulacan press over and over that broke the game open and crush the hopes of STI College Balagtas to come out on top. STI College Balagtas suddenly collapsed on the wake of the Santa Rosa onslaught as their team scored only five points, had no assists and were outrebounded 16 – 8 by the tough playing STI College Santa Rosa team. STI College Santa Rosa’s poise showed in the end game that saw them take control of Group B with two wins and the chance to come out on top in their group.
Aljasin Karamihan drives to the basket
The box scores
STI COLLEGE SANTA ROSA (66)
Aliparo 24, Almoro 12, Karamihan 11, Guerrero 7, Fabic 4, Hercia Jes. 4 , Proximo 2, Romualdo 2, Dimaranan 0, Hercia Jer. 0, Ursabia 0, Regalado 0,
STI COLLEGE BALAGTAS (46)
Macapagal 12, Oraye 9, Maglalang 6, Plastina 6, Mallari 4, Ecamin 3, Policarpio 2, Peralta 2, Reyes 2, Joson 0, Mendoza 0, Baltazar 0,
Quarter scores: 13 – 7, 25 – 24, 49 – 41, 66 – 46