BERNARDO D. Carpio National High School (BDCNHS) dribblers shrugged off a sluggish start to shock the hosting Rizal Memorial Colleges (RMC) Bulldogs, 89-85, in Sunday's opener of the RMC Davao's Pride Basketball League High School Invitational basketball tournament held at the newly-refurbished Fil-Oil Flying V RMC Gym.
James Belulo went on an explosive performance, scoring a total of 48 points including his eight-straight points in the third frame to put BDCNHS on a better position after trailing all throughout the half-time.
Clyde Tag-at paced the Bulldogs with 20 points as Elmarc Subing-Subing got 19 points including a three-pointer in the crucial minutes of the final frame that almost secured them the victory.
Barely two minutes left at the half and RMC had the lead 39-31 when Belulo of BDCNHS ignited an 8-0 run to tie the game at 39-all.
RMC had a quick shot and added another bucket to regain the lead 43-39 but Belulo answered with a floater to end the half at 41-43 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Series of deadlocks and lead changes then ensued in the third quarter until another rally was fueled by Belulo to end the third canto with a 68-64 lead.
BDCNHS then cemented a solid 78-69 advantage barely three minutes and 20 seconds remaining on the clock.
But BDCNHS wasn't able to celebrate yet as the urgent RMC surged a 9-2 run and came closer 78-80.
Not even the whistles of the referees were heard as the crowd roared after Subing-Subing connected a three-pointer and just like that, RMC regained the lead 81-80, less than two minutes left in regulation.
RMC was able to stretch its lead 83-80 but Belulo was too determined to win, dropping two floaters and made both charities from the penalty line to put RMC at bay 86-80 and never looked back.
"Nag focus lang sa (only in) defense and salig sa Ginoo (trust in God)," Belulo said on their second quarter recovery from a nine-point deficit.
Belulo said he will double his effort for the remaining games.
Head coach Jonathan Robledo, in a separate interview, felt satisfied as they reaped the fruit of their hard work and training.
"We will just be consistent and enjoy the game," he said.
Other teams entered are Thompson Christian College, Davao City National High School, Sta. Ana National High School, Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Governor Vicente Duterte National High School, Jesus Soriano National High School and Catalunan Pequeño National High School.
The games will be played every Saturday in the same venue.