SAINT Louis University Navigators started the season with a spectacular display of basketball skills in pulling an upset against Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University Stingers in the opening game of the 8th Panagbenga Cup Invitational Basketball Tournament Sunday afternoon.
Trailing for almost the entire three periods, SLU turned-up the tides in the pay-off canto to win against the Stingers, 88-84 at the Easter College gym.
Rommel Soriano, Clyde Earl Habon, and Emerson Javier stepped-up their ballgame as they fired for a combined 17 points in the pay-off period to take over gritty Stingers squad.
"I am happy for the team’s victory coming to start with the season, maganda yung naging adjustments ng players come the fourth quarter that's why we won the game," said Navigators coach Raymund Austria after the game.
Austria added he hopes to carry the momentum towards the following games for the season.
“We look forward to bring this first victory sa mga susunod na games, I hope it will spark a better performance in our team,” Austria quipped.
Cutting the Stingers lead by one after the third period, 61-62, the Navigators pushed their way to control the contest as Javier and Soriano team up to put SLU in front 67-66 with 6:41 running.
But DMMMSU was not easily shaken of as they regain the lead, 78-79, with Darwin Valmonte landing a three-pointer in the 2:33 mark.
The Stingers tried to capitalize from the momentum but it was stopped by SLU as Alvin Ray Dumuk converted four more points to trail DMMMSU, 85-83, with 38 ticks left in the fourth canto.
DMMSU tried to even the score but Abul Aljarari missed his last shot attempt while Javier added three more points for SLU from the foul line.
Soriano led the scoring for SLU with 18 points adding 5 steals and four rebounds, while teammates Dumuk and Javier generated 17 and 15 points respectively.
Aljarari scored a game high 23 points for the Stingers adding six boards and two steals, while guard Lemuel Guieb dropped 18 points including eight he made in the third quarter to trail SLU behind.
Meanwhile, Lyseum-Northwestern University walloped Team DOS winning, 96-95.
Some 40 teams will battle in this season’s Panagbenga Cup including seven collegiate based teams battling for the crown in the open bracket.