USLS, Isabella advance to SM-NBTC National Finals
by rick olivares
And two more schools are headed for the national finals for the first time. The University of St. La Salle and Isabela College of Cauayan City defeated separate opponents in the SM-NBTC Regional Championships presented by Freego to earn that precious ticket to the national championships in Manila this March at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The USLS Junior Stingers dethroned defending Bacolod champions Tay Tung High School, 90-79, at the Natalio G. Velez Gym in Silay, Negros Occidental.
The Junior Stingers blew the game wide open in the third period following a slim 41-40 half-time lead. USLS’ Anthony Antipatia scored 11 points to lead a 23-14 third period splurge that saw his side take a 10-point lead heading into the final canto. An 8-0 bomb to start the pay-off period by the Tay Tung Thunderbolts made a game of it. However, Andy Villamer and Miguel Corteza missed consecutive lay-ups that would have given them the lead. That miscues allowed USLS time to gather their wits as they hiked their lead back to double digits with 6:28 left to play. The Junior Stingers held off Tay Tung’s last charge for the win.
Nine hundred sixty-six kilometers to the north, Isabela College routed the University of Baguio, 78-64, in the latter’s home court to likewise gain a slot to the national finals. The visitors broke out of their first half malaise with a stellar performance in the last 15 minutes.
After overhauling the lead, 63-62, with five minutes to play. Isabela College dropped a crippling 15-2 blast to take the fight out of the Red Robbins.
Marvin Tagacay led Cauayan with 23 points while the regional’s Most Valuable Player, Joshua Felebrico added 22, to lead four players in double digits.
Jerico Antonio was the only UB player who scored in double digits as he finished with 18 points.
In one other regional championship, Assumption Montessori School captured their second straight regional title after besting all their opponents in the Northern Mindanao Regional Finals, which concluded last February 8 at the Xavier University Gymnasium in Cagayan De Oro.
The AMS Jaguars made their way again to the national finals after completing a sweep finish with a 78-53 demolition of the La Salle Iligan City Green Warriors.
Austin Rome Mutya finished strong for the Jaguars with 24 points, while the regional finals' MVP Milo Janao Jr. tallied 18 points.
The remaining regional championships will have been played before the end of February 2017. The SM-NBTC National High School Championships will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City from March 13-16.