NEWCOMER Professional World Academy (PWA) on Sunday, January 8, handed the Southern de Oro Philippines College (SPC) its first taste of defeat via a thrilling 70-67 finish in the 2016-17 Loyola Cup Collegiate Men's Basketball Tournament at the Xavier University gym, Cagayan de Oro City.
Ariel Sabonsolin, who sizzled for 20 points, provided the much needed push for the PWA's win that also drew 13 markers from Mark Bryan Bagnaran.
Winless in their past encounters with the SPC Sharks last year, the PWA dribblers showed vast improvement to go along with their heftier frontliners, making them as a serious threat.
The wards of PWA coach Oliver Wong and new assistant coach Jonas Molawan started strong with a six-point lead in the first quarter and hang on to a tight battle in the following quarters against the multi-titled Sharks.
PWA got away in the fourth quarter after Sabonsolin sank his third-straight triple for a six-point lead, 68-62.
Veteran guard Lee Van Orig initiated a 5-1 SPC run to cut PWA’s lead down to two, 69-67 with still one minute and 7 seconds left.
In fact, the SPC Sharks had two chances to win the ballgame after the PWA’s 24-second violation followed by a lane violation but failed to take advantage of it.
Ronn Vincent Tan-awon sealed PWA's victory after converting one of his two freethrows with seven ticks remaining as the last attempt by Agustin Patlunag from the 3-point arc misfired.
The Sharks still up at 3-1 win-loss record, while the PWA cagers improved at 2-2.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 10, 2017.