La Trinidad – The Theresians came up with a memorable moment that could last for a lifetime and, at the same time, positioned themselves for a strong grip on the top two slots in the Corinthians bracket of the 3rd season of the Laity Cup by breaking the hearts of the Perpetual Help –Buguias, 76-73, last August 6, 2015 at the San Jose Gym here.
Aries Garcia recovered a miss free throw attempt from the Helpers and released a Hail Mary shot from about 60 feet that went in the basket in a straight bank to break from a 73-all tie and end the game at regulation. The hardcourt action was constantly shifting that the game shaped into a situation where the loser will suffer heartaches for quite a while with both teams getting several chances to win a relatively close match.
Perpetual Help jumped the gun early, going for a 9-5 lead and 14-9 early in the first before the Theresians rallied to close the first canto with a 15-14 lead. A see-saw battle ensued during the whole of the second quarter with the Theresians extending their lead slightly to four at halftime.
Then the Theresians threatened to put the game away and was seemingly successful in doing so. Garcia started the break-away with six early third quarter points and Janner Epler capped it with two baskets towards the end of the third to increase the lead to 16 at the end of the third, 57-41.
Rodney Luma-ang scored two quick baskets to open the third and Garcia added a twinner and a trey as the Theresians established their biggest lead of the night, a 21 point lead, 70-49, with two minutes gone in the fourth.
Thinking that they are already done, they started pulling out their starters. The Helpers, however, did not obliged and had something else in mind. They started clamping their defenses to the full length of the court and attacking the basket using their heavier built to make a near-to-impossible comeback.
Rusty Bigo canned a triple along with two drives to ignite a 7-0 run. After Albert Tasing scored a basket for the Theresians, the Helpers went into a dizzying 14-1 run to inch closer dangerously, 73-70. Four Helpers contributed basket for this cause, led by Bigo and Raver Egsan with four each, and Alcurt Fuchigami and Roderick Pacuyan with three each.
As the Theresians scampered to bring back their starters to the floor, both teams, however, felt the nerves as a number of free throws were missed that could have sealed the game.
The Helpers got another relief when Rusty Bigo drilled in a three to tie the game 73-all, with only 50 seconds left. The Theresians got two cracks at the basket, one coming off an offensive rebound, but failed to convert each time and the Helpers secured the leather and can waste the time remaining before going to the last shot.
The Helpers, however, drove to the basket early but turned out to be a good decision as they were send to the line with six seconds left and positioned themselves to secure an unforgettable comeback of their own. Stomach butterflies, however, got its presence felt again as both free throw attempts were missed.
A scramble followed to secure possession of the ball and Garcia emerged control of the ball, got the hot potato off, and watched his shot go in the basket on a bank as the final buzzer sounded.
Theresians 76: Garcia 22, Epler 12, Garrieth Dorian 7, Samboy Beray 7, Tasing 6, Jake Beligan 6, Jamil Nasingao 5, Bert Balicdang 4, Luma-ang 4, Keatch Luama-ang 4, Langpawen.
Perppetual Help-Buguias 73: Rusty Bigo 30, Alcurt Fuchigami 22, Marlon Ludaes 10, Elton Tayab 4, Raver Egsan 4, Roderick Pacuyan 3, Jake Beray.
Quarterscores: 15-14, 32-28, 57-41, 76-73. 3 Pt shots made: Garcia 3, Dorian 1, Beray 1, Nasingao 1, K Luma-ang 1, Bigo 2, Fuchigami 2.