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CKSC Blue Dragons pummel San Beda for MMBL crown
by rick olivares
The Chiang Kai Shek College Blue Dragons had too much firepower and depth in their 101-76 rout of the San Beda Red Cubs during the Division One Finals of the 32nd Metro Manila Basketball League last Sunday, February 1, at the San Beda Gym in Mendiola, Manila.
The Blue Dragons lead for practically the entire game save for a brief flurry by the Red Cubs behind point guard Norrish DeCapia whose lay-up overhauled an early CSKC lead, 10-9. But Blue Dragons point guard Fran Yu doused the reigning NCAA champions’ celebration when he rifled in a deadeye three from the top of the arc 10 seconds later to re-take the lead. CKSC never looked back as they post as much as a 29-point lead, 95-66, after power forward Jonas Tibayan picked off a pass and scooted in for a lay-up.
It was the Blue Dragons’ big men, center Shannon Gagate and Tibayan who set the tone early with their strong inside play. They scored the match’s first five points and sent SBC starters Sam Abuhijleh and Niko Abatayo to the bench with foul trouble. Rugged back-up forward-center Evan Furaque didn’t fare any better as he too was plagued by fouls.
With absolute control of the boards, (a 45-30 rebounding edge) CKSC bombarded San Beda from beyond the arc with 13 triples and ran them to the ground with 18 fastbreak points to the two and six of the Red Cubs respectively.
CKSC went on two crippling runs that took the fight out of San Beda. The first was at the 7:11 mark of the second period after Abuhijleh converted on a three-point play to cut the early deficit to 23-20. The Blue Dragons responded with a 13-0 run to hike back the lead to 36-22.
The second run was in the third period after San Beda’s Chami Diputado scored nine consecutive points to cut a 19-point CKSC lead to 10 with four minutes left. Graduating shooting guard John Vincent Gallego hit back triples to kick-start a mighty 26-9 windup for an 80-54 lead heading into the final period. The Red Cubs never recovered from that blitz.
The National University-bound JV Gallego paced the Blue Dragons with 19 points while Fran Yu, who himself will join the University of the East Red Warriors, added 17 points on top of two rebounds, four assists, and one shot block.
“Against San Beda, we wanted to build a big lead early because they are not only very experienced but they are also a champion team,” revealed Yu whose block of a Diputado three-point attempt also sparked the Blue Dragons’ solid defensive effort. “When we answered their run with a big one of our own that silenced their crowd and their bench.”
Andrei Caracut topscored with 23 points while Diputado added 17 for San Beda that has now not won the tournament in three years, their longest such drought in a tournament that they have owned since its inception in 1983.
“In the absence of the Tiong Lian Basketball Association (for the second year in a row due to differences in league rules between member schools), this is our main league,” said winning head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. “To be able to win over a great champion like San Beda is an achievement for our small school.”
Last season, the CKSC Blue Dragons won a whopping six secondary school basketball championships: the Milo NCR Passarelle Basketball Tournament, the FCAAF High School Basketball Tournament, National Championship of the Passarelle Division of the Milo-SBP Tournament, the MMBL Division One title, the Seaoil NBTC High School Championship, and the Private Schools Basketball League.
This year thus far, they have two championships – the FCAAF High School Basketball Tournament and the MMBL. This March, the Blue Dragons will be defending their Seaoil NBTC championship.
|With JV Gallego and Fran Yu and their MMBL trophy!|