La Trinidad, Benguet – The Crossroads team won the battle of treys and “and 1s” to capture the 35 and Up Bracket title of the Strawberry Cup last Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at the La Trinidad Municipal Gym.
Emerson Esgana fired a championship high nine triples including 20 points during a second quarter run while Bart Parrocha added four three point plays and an impeccable shooting at the stripe to led Crossroads over Isaac, 110-90, for the championship. Overall, 30 of the 110 points of Crossroads came beyond the arc while 18 came from completed three point plays in a perfect mixture of inside-outside offense spiked with pinpoint passing and zone defense in the exciting duel.
It was actually a shoot-out as Isaac, themselves, employed exactly the same strategy. They matched the 10 conversions of Crossroads and completed four three point plays. Elison Versola canned five treys while completing three “and 1s” to highlight his personal duel against Esgana and Parrocha.
Crossroads used a 17-5 attack in the second quarter to breakaway from a tight game and never looked back since. Esgana fired three triples and Parrocha found the open man thrice during the run.
The game started with Crossroads seemingly having more intensity. After Samson Pascual scored the first basket of the game on a coast to coast lay-up, Crossroads went on a 11-4 run. Anthony Dizo scored seven points including his first three point play during the run as Crossroads went majority in the inside. Arman Pasion countered with a side jumper and Michael Hermosado got an offensive rebound and feed it to Versola for two free throws after being fouled in an attempt to tie the game, 11-all, just over two minutes left in the first.
Then Crossroads ignited their first attempt to breakaway. Parrocha converted two freebies after being fouled in a drive, a running lay-up and his first three point play to spearhead a 12-3 run to go up, 23-14, just under a minute left. Esgana, who punctuated the run with his first trey, was then whistled with a foul he did not agree with. His vehement protests earned him a technical foul, sending Versola to the line for three shots as he was on the way to the basket when the T was called.
Versola calmly sank all three attempts and fired his second trey when play resumed, closing the gap, 23-20, as the buzzer signaling the end of the first sounded. Sherwin Galgala then opened the second with a basket to reduce the lead to one, 23-22, in what turned out to be the closest that Isaac would be reaching against the lead after this point of the game.
It is because Crossroads would mount another attack that will be successful in establishing an insurmountable lead this time. Paul Ferrer would sink two lean-in jumpers and a reverse lay-up to lead an 11-0 blast and go up by 12. After Pasion broke Isaac’s silence with a lay-up and a three point play, Esgana fired two triples, including one that was around five feet away from the arc to stay on top by double digits, 40-27.
After an exchange of baskets rung up the score to 49-38, two minutes left in the half, Esgana fired three treys in succession, including one way from the parking lot, to establish a huge 20 point lead at the 48 second mark of the second canto before committing his third foul that send him to the bench.
It would not matter though as Parrocha completed another “and 1” and Jeff Abance beat the halftime buzzer with a reverse lay-up to bring the lead to swell, 63-41, at the half. Two more baskets from spins to get away from the defenders by Dizo at the start of the third would bring the lead to its highest for the game, a 25 point advantage, 68-43.
Refusing to go out quietly into the night, Isaac engineered a comeback. It dropped an 18-6 bomb to get back in the game, 74-63. Benjie Lorente had a steal that resulted to a lay-up, a free throw and a triple while Versola completed two three point plays that included one where he fished Esgana’s fourth foul and a drive in the counter attack that forced Crossroads to call its second time-out during the quarter. Esgana opted to stay on the floor despite his four fouls. A follow-up by Joseph Arquero of a miss would chop the lead to single digits, 74-65, two minutes left in the third.
Crossroads made sure it was the last hurrah of Isaac as Dizo connected a jumper, Parrocha a drive and a steal that would eventually resulted to Esgana’s 9th triple of the night to restore the lead to 16, 81-69 and virtually ice the game. Crossroads would then match Isaac point for point and coasted along in the fourth to bag the crown.
Crossroads 110: Esgana 33, Dizo 27, Parrocha 23, Ferrer 14, Raul Occasion 5, Jeff Abance 4, Louis Caranto 2, Constantino Ramos 2 , Joel Albos, Billy Babando.
Isaac 90: Versola 31, Lorente 14, Hermosado 12, Pasion 10, Arquero 7, Pascual 5, Joey Bona 4, Vernie Pelayo 3, Sherwin Galgala 2, Dodie Mendillo 2, Francisco Aviles, Rommel Basali, Roland Bugarin, Joseph Calaycay.
Quarterscores: 23-20, 33-41, 81-65, 110-90.
3pt shot conversion: Esgana 9, Occasion 1, Versola 6, Lorente 2, Pascual 1, Pelayo 1. Free throw conversions: Parrocha 9, Dizo 3, Versola 5, Lorente 2, Pasion 2, Arquero 1. 3pt-play conversions: Parocha 4, Dizo 2, Versola 3, Pasion 1.