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St. Clare stays perfect

SEVEN out of seven.

Defending champion St. Clare College-Caloocan  kept its poise under tremendous pressure to subdue  beat  Our Lady of Fatima University, 71-69, and complete a sweep of  the  elimination round of the  NAASCU Season 18 basketball championships at the  RTU gym in Mandaluyong.

Rojay Santos  hit three of four free  throws in the final 14 seconds and the Saints’ vaunted defense  kept Phoenix  in check in their final offensive to escape with  their seventh straight win in Group A.

More importantly, the Caloocan  City-based Saints of NAASCU founding president Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem and multi-titled coach Jino Manansala  clinched top seed and earned an outright quarterfinals berth with twice-to-beat advantage.

Junjie Hallare finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds despite playing limited  minutes for the Saints,  who added  the  Phoenix to their growing list of victims.

Santos added 12 points and import Mohamed Pare contributed 10 points while leading another solid defensive effort by the Saints.

It was also the  Saints’ defense in the closing seconds that forced  Miguel Cabrera  of  Fatima to miss a potential game-winning shot.

Evardo  carried the fight  for the Phoenix with 21 points,  followed by  Cabrera  with 15.

Before beating Fatima, St. Clare also won over Enderun Colleges (96-72), Philippine Merchant  Marine School (81-76 ), Holy Angel University (119-60). National Teachers College  (133-57), Rizal Technological University (83-59) and   City University of Pasay (99-56).

The seven-game winning streak  also produced a whopping 37  points average winning margin for the Saints — easily one of the biggest in  the 18-year history of the league..

Makati City Pabakuna

The 76-point winning by St. Clare over NTC is also considered as one of the biggest in collegiate  basketball in recent years.

Earlier,  St. Clare  asserted its mastery over Fatima, 64-56, in the junior division.

Stephen Catacutan and Cedrick Mwamba provided the spark in the Baby Saints’  lopsided triumph.

Catacutan fired  21 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while  Mwamba added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Baby  Saints, who led by as many as 19 points.

Niko Panganiban had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Fatima.

The scores:

St. Clare (71) –Hallare 17, Santos 12, Pare 10, Fontanilla 8, Tecson 7, de Leon 5, Catura 4, Joven 4, Palencia 2, Decano 2, Rubio 0, Fuentes 0.

OLFU  (69) –Evardo 21, Cabrera 15, Alarcon 8, Bacay 5, Essomba 4, Dalupang 4, de Vera 4, Sarona 3, Pastrana 3, Espiritu 2, Diosa 0, Diao 0.

Quarterscores: 15-18, 37-36, 58-57, 71-69.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Ed Andaya
Sports Editor - People's Tonight