SHS-AdC Magis Eagles bungle title defense-A A +A
Sunday, March 3, 2013
PASIG City – Cebu Leg champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles displayed the heart of a champion, but unfortunate circumstances negated that as they failed to defend their national title following a 73-66 loss to the Metro Manila Basketball League champions Hope Christian High School (HCHS) in the knockout semifinal match of the Seaoil-NBTC National High School Championship at the Philsports Arena yesterday.
Like true champions, the Magis Eagles rallied hard from a 19-point deficit and were only a few seconds away from wresting the lead when the breaks of the game went HCHS’s way.
However, unfortunate events were responsible for SHS-AdC’s failure to book a ticket back to the finals.
The Magis Eagles lost a valuable cog, its starting swingman Jair Igna, who was thrown out in the middle of the first quarter after committing two technical fouls.
Despite Igna’s early exit, SHS-AdC managed to keep within reach and finished the first quarter trailing only by a point, 18-19.
However, the nightmare came in the second after Hynric Ochea, Ar-G Araw-Araw, Rendell Senining and Giovanni Laguyo went into an early foul trouble, keeping them on the bench for most of the second period.
HCHS took advantage of this, pounding the Cebuanos hard and holding them to just five points to post a 15-point lead, 38-23, at the halftime break.
Still, the Magis Eagles started tentative at the start of the third quarter and the MMBL champions scored two more baskets to log the biggest lead of the game at 42-23.
Then SHS-AdC started to find the lost spark, starting with Jan-Jan Jaboneta’s pair of free throws and Laguyo’s triple that sparked a 7-0 run.
However, HCHS still had answers for that as Jose Go sank two triples of his eight straight points to maintain their double-digit lead at the end of the third period.
Rendell Senining, who was the marked player of the game, then ignited the rally of SHS-AdC as he sank a triple followed by Araw-Araw who delivered three treys while Ochea, Jaboneta and Arnie Padilla did their shares in both offense and defense that rattled HCHS bench when the Cebuanos were already hot on their tails.
The bright spots for HCHS power forward Clint Doliguez, who scored 10 points, and behemoth center John Apacible who contributed five that prevented SHS-AdC from taking the lead.
But as Ochea pushed the Magis Eagles within a point, 66-67, in the final 90 seconds of the game, HCHS got their break of the game when Araw-Araw was called for a foul. The 24-seconds violation buzzer sounded.
The foul rewarded Leo Guion two free throws, which he sank calmly, and SHS-AdC was never the same again as they committed two crucial turnovers at the other end and HCHS converted to baskets to move to the finals against San Beda College Red Cubs who scored a masterful 30-point win, 95-65, win over Iloilo Central Commercial High School at the Ynares Sports Complex.
Araw-Araw and Fletcher Galvez topscored for SHS-AdC with 12 points each and Ochea finished with 11 points while Doliguez scored the game high 25 points and Arjan de la Cruz added 19 points for the winning squad.
After the game, the Magis Eagles were all crying at the dugout for two reasons – they were all frustrated that they fell short of expectations and this will be the second to the last tournament that they will be together. The last one will be the Palarong Pambansa in Dumaguete City next month.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2013.