WNU is 2014 Seaoil NBTC Bacolod champion
by rick olivares
Living Heritage Christian Academy must be so sick and tired of losing to West Negros University.
During the elimination round, LHCA defeated WNU by three points. They’ve also gone on to beat the Junior Mustangs in the elimination round of the DepEd Cup but when it comes to the title game? They are 0-4 in four championship games against WNU.
Last Saturday, February 1, the two high school powers met once more in the Seaoil National Basketball Training Center championship for Bacolod at the West Negros University gym. This was the third time in four years they were playing each other for the title and this year’s result was no different, an 89-79 victory over LHCA.
The Junior Mustangs opened the game with a press on LHCA and quickly posted a 12-1 lead forcing the latter’s head coach Joemarie Bayhon to call a timeout. Bayhon put in two points guards, Ranel Montero and Jade Ayupan at the same time to deal with the backcourt pressure and the strategy worked.
LHCA’s reed-thin 6’5” forward-center Kenneth Tulipas scored eight consecutive points in 10-0 run as LHCA asserted its might underneath to make a game of it 12-11 this time forcing WNU coach Jack Tumayan to call a timeout.
Unable to sustain its press, WNU resorted to another weapon – the three-point shot. WNU’s John Lemuel Bastias hit three triples in second period to help keep the smaller Juniors Mustangs in pace with LHCA that went into the half up by two, 42-40.
Upon the resumption of the game, WNU recommitted to the full court press that had gotten them their early lead in the first period.
Five steals and it was an eight-point lead after two minutes and 30 seconds for the Junior Mustangs, 50-42. WNU didn’t step off the gas pedal as they posted as much as a 16-point lead, the last with 40 seconds to play off a free throw by WNU’s scintillating point guard Boy Pido, 87-71.
“Hindi na maka-diskarte yung LHCA,” said Seaoil NBTC Bacolod Commissioner Jake Azucena. “That was the story of the rivalry so far – organized ball versus athleticism and height.”
WNU also rifled in 13 three-pointers—including nine in the second half -- to the five of LHCA.
“We know their weakness,” said Tumayan after the match. “We made sure that in the second half we did a better job of pressing them. If we played zone then they would kill us because of their height. Plus, our three-point shooting was on target today.”
Phil Pajanconi lead WNU with 24 points while Pido added 20 points to go with seven assists to take Most Valuable Player honors of the tournament. Center Raymund Umayao added 13 points.
“Nakabawi din kami,” said Pido of the championship match. “Fighter yung team na yan (LHCA).”
Ken Tulipas scored 18 points for the unlucky LHCA while teammate Sydric Seballos chipped in 13 markers.
Notes: The championship match was nearly postponed due to the announcement of Signal #3 due to tropical storm Basyang. By mid-morning, the signal was downgraded to one that allowed the match to be played.