PASAY City – The Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles handed the Zamboanga City champion Southern City Colleges a 61-point spanking, 99-38, to clinch a semifinals slot in the SM-NBTC High School National Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Magis Eagles started the game with all guns blazing and dropped a quick 10-0 start before the Zamboangueño could make their first point courtesy of a split free throw by Saddam Hussein Ali at the 6:33 mark.

The defending champions did not stop there as they continued to pound on the hapless SCC, who found no answer to the blazing run and gun game of the Magis Eagles. Ateneo topped Group D of Division 1 and moved to the next round.

Unlike its game against the taller Traill International School when they committed 29 turnovers, the Magis Eagles took extra care handling the leather and gave up only eight errors, while forcing the opponents to commit 20 turnovers.

SHS-AdC cashed in 30 points from the turnovers and had 13 points in the transition game.

Jeremy Nacua caught fire for the Magis Eagles as he scattered 18 points, all from the 3-point area, while Andrew Velasco scored 16 points. Justin Javelosa also came up as a surprise and finished the game with 12 points and Errol Pastor contributed 10 points before sitting down in the entire second half. Rafael Quilla was the only player from Zamboanga to hit double digits in scoring with 13 points.

But while the Magis Eagles are two wins away from keeping the title, the other Cebu representative, the Paref-Springdale School Titans, were like kids lost in the woods when they lost to Castillejos National High School of Zambales Sunday evening.

The Titans wasted the lead they were protecting in three quarters, 53-47, to the Zambales team.

Sprindale scored only 10 points in the final period, while Castillejos NHS made 17 in the payoff period to get closer to a semis spot.

Today, the Titans will try to salvage a victory when they play De La Salle-Lipa at 4 p.m. today.