GRUDGE GAMES: EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE WINS

Ateneo and San Beda, teams with proud traditions of winning and very familiar with intensely-fought physical matches that go into overtime or large, manic crowd of supporters, had a handful to last them the NCAA and UAAP season yesterday.

And that was even before they walked into the playing court.

Emilio Aguinaldo College, a last-minute replacement for San Lorenzo, played the game of its life, wearing down Philippine Maritime Institute in overtime 100-95 in the Grudge Games of Champions League 2003 at the Makati Coliseum.

The Blue Eagles, defending UAAP champions, and the Red Lions watched from the corners as EAC, nicknamed the Generals for the important man their school was named after, and the PMI Admirals turned the hardcourt into a virtual Army-Navy battle, with neither side refusing to yield an inch.

"PMI was in foul trouble so we brought the game to the free throw line in the end," said EAC coach Nomer Isla. Nino Songco led EAC with 21 points while Diowe Bacanto added 18, including five 3-point shots.

Nino Marquez unloaded 43 points for PMI and his two foul shots forged the extra period. But fatigue eventually wore down the Admirals as they missed six straight charities in the closing minutes of overtime as the Generals finally took command.

The game had 13 deadlocks and 19 lead changes.

With the Grudge Games down to the last two playdates, focus shifts after the June 26 and 28 matches to the mother leagues where the top four teams in the UAAP, NCAA and CESAFI will be seeded to the Round of 32.

To the 12 teams will be added the champions of the NCRAA, CUSA, NAASCU, UCAA, Southern-NCAA, BEAL-Baguio, UCAAP-Dagupan, NOPCEA-Bacolod, ISAA-Iloilo, PRISAA-Davao and Inter-School-Dumaguete. Nine schools from the Gruge Games, outside those that make it in their respective leagues, will be invited to the post-tournament.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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