LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The three of the four top seeds of both the Corinthians and Ephesians Divisions of the 3rd Season of the Laity Cup had hard time living with their billing as they fall to their lower ranked rivals one after another in the playoff round on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
Even the one who won its match-up did not find the rival easy to dispose off.
The Levites relied on a late third quarter run and a stifling fourth quarter defense to pull the trick but the Knights of Columbus – Cathedral, the Commission on Elections Stallions, and the Trojan Warriors all got pushed aside the way.
The Levites, who found themselves trailing after the first half, got it going offensively during the stretch of the third to get the driver’s seat by eight at the end of the third. They made sure no comeback would occur by blanking every Sacred Heart except Kirby Dela Paz and Jose Puyao, Jr. who managed only a measly six points each during the fourth while scoring 20 points themselves.
First to register an upset was the sixth seeded Brethren. Having beaten the Stallions last week in their first quarter final game, they repeated again last week to grab a seat in the semi-final round. They had to overcome a spirited rally from the Stallions who lost leading scorer Rodel Villoria and Jordan Mateo in the third due to disagreements to calls.
Up by a paltry five points after the third, the Brethren thwarted a rally by COMELEC to bag the game. The Stallions managed to bring down the lead to just two points early in the fourth but Homer Martinez and Justin Benter sank some crucial baskets to remain ahead.
The Kibungan-Tublay-Bokod Apostles followed suit during the first game Thursday. In a game that saw the teams who wore identical uniform color themes in full force, the Apostles had to rely on late game heroics to bag the first finals seat.
Rey Gabino came through with two crucial baskets while Mark Del Rosario hit the tying basket before fouling out to push the Apostles past a gritty KC-Cathedral team. After Del Rosario fouled out, Jovencio Caleno was sent to the freethrow line and sank one of two to give the Apostles the lead.
Then the Apostles came through with their trademark tough defense and forced the Knights to three turnovers in the last two minutes. The first resulted to a Gabino pull-up jumper. The next one gave Caleno a drive opportunity that would have given them a five point lead with 40 seconds left. Caleno, however, overshot the lay-up. The last one was the killer as it prevented KC from attempted a tying basket and enable them to pass the spheroid around until the buzzer sounded.
The La Trinidad Public Marketers were the last one to pull out an upset. They upended the second seeded Trojan Warriors, 82-76, to enter the finals of the Ephesians Division. They would face the top-seeded Levites in a knock-out game while the Warriors were relegated to the battle for third against Sacred Heart.
The Brethren will have another chance to record an upset as they face the second-seed Theresians in a match-up of mostly former graduates of San Jose High School in the
Corinthian semis. The winner will be facing the awaiting Apostles. The Knights and the Stallions will dispute the bronze.
Apostles 76: Mark Del Rosario 26, Rey Gabino 21, Jeffrey Buton 16, Jovencio Caleno 13, Boggs Basquial, Arnel Cobaldez, Hoven Bolislis, Haggard Pantaleon, Gusval Bolislis, Alex Batara, Rolly Paleng, Eric Aoay.
KC Cathedral 73: Paul Vincent Moltio 23, Dennis Billanes 14, Jay R Paladan 11, Al Odra 11, Donald Colanta 7, Eric Dulay 3, Quirico Bambico 2, Juanito Nastor, Jr. 2, Arthur Barrias, Rey Florida, Kevin Areola.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 32-37, 54-58, 76-73. 3 pt shots made: Del Rosario 2, Moltio 6, Odra 2, Dulay 1.
Brethren 93: Homer Martinez 31, Xander Batanes 25, Justin Benter, 21, Jefferson Dennis 5, Clifton Agasen 5, Ronan Milo 4, Mark Galian 2, Harvey Lee, Charston Cho.
COMELEC 88: Rodel Villoria 27, Danstun Tad-o 21, Julius Torres 9, Marlon Ogerio 6, Jordan Mateo 4, Bryan Balanon 4, Benjie Congowan 4, Hadie Badio 3, Jeric Bautista 3, Dexter Cawis.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 40-42, 70-65, 93-81. 3 pt shots made: Benter 3, Martinez 1, Villoria 4, Torres 2, Ogerio 1, Badeo 1, Bautista 1.
Levites 90: Benjie Madriaga 46, Cipriano Comiles, Sr. 15, John Rex Bawang 12, Hazen Binay-an 9, Chris Pacdit 3, Cipriano Comiles, Jr. 3, Arthur Bataclao 2, Allan Contero, Eugeneson Gayasco.
Sacred Heart 74: Kirby Dela Paz 24, Jose Puyao, Jr. 21, Jonathan Raet 20, Jonald Guyon 4, Jowen Nang-is 3, Ianneil Falcasantos 2, Earl Cunanan, Willie Leyva.
Quarterscores: 19-23, 36-37, 70-62, 90-74. 3 pt shots made: Madriaga 1, Pacdit 1, Comiles, Jr. 1, Binay-an 1, Raet 3.