NCAA: STAGS DEFUSE BOMBERS, CLOSE IN ON FINAL FOUR

MANILA, August 26, 2003 (STAR) By Abac Cordero  - Pep Moore and Leo Najorda had a field day on both ends of the court as San Sebastian shot down Jose Rizal University yesterday, 83-76, and moved one step closer toward the Final Four of the 79th NCAA basketball season at the Rizal Coliseum.

Moore, a 6-foot-7 center, had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Najorda, a 6-foot-3 forward, had 16 points and 13 rebounds to carry the Stags to their 8th win in 12 games and just one win away from the Final Four.

The Heavy Bombers dropped to 7-5.

San Sebastian, the reigning back-to-back champion, has two games left against Letran and Perpetual Help. A sweep of both games will assure the Stags of a top two spot and a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis.

In the other game, Perpetual Help won a game it couldn’t afford to lose, beating Mapua, 67-52, to keep its hopes alive with a 5-7 slate. However, the Altas must still win their last two games against PCU and San Sebastian.

The Cardinals trailed by as many as 20 points late in the third quarter and ran out of time trying to catch up. They fell to 6-5.

The Stags led most of the way, racing to a 44-32 halftime lead and settling for a 65-60 advantage entering the final quarter. They took another 10-point lead with four minutes left then simply hung on after their opponents closed in to within three points in the final 44 seconds.

Marco Fajardo, who scored a season-high 35 points in Jose Rizal’s big win over PCU last week, was in exile yesterday, being held to just a dozen points on a poor 1-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

"We focused on defense. Sabi ko sa mga players, ang opensa nandiyan na ‘yan kaya sa depensa mag-focus," said SSC coach Turing Valenzona. The Scores First Game (Jrs.)

SSC-R 98 — Mariano 12, Busa 12, Salamat 10, Juan 9, Agas 9, Quismorio 8, Buquid 8, Valenzona 7, Tulaio 6, Galang 6, Balila 5, Soledad 3, Gonzales 3, Avestro 0, Castelo 0.

JRU 84 — Acosta 35, Relator 20, Reyes 11, Mapoy 6, Espinosa 4, Angeles 3, Acevedo 2, Tamares 2, Guerra 1, Pacifico 0, Concepcion 0, Sta. Maria 0, Espeleta 0.

Quarterscores: 28-21, 49-43, 71-68, 98-84.

Second Game (Srs.)

SSC-R 83 — Moore 17, Najorda 16, Baluyot 14, Gonzales 11, Uy 9, Maneclang 7, Vicente 7, Aguilar 2, Lim 0.

JRU 76 — Te 18, Santos 18, Attunaga 12, Fajardo 12, Borboran 11, Jorge 2, de Vera 2, Domangcas 0, Lindaya 0, Serios 0, Nicolas 0.

Quarterscores: 24-15, 44-32, 65-60, 83-76

Third Game (Jrs.)

MIT 94 — Garcia 23, Galinato 15, Del Rosario 12, Aguilar 12, Tabaquero 11, Ocampo 5, Ramos 5, Marquez 4, Balucas 3, Guevarra 2, Parcon 2, Penafiel 0, Santos 0.

UPHR 65 — Panganiban 17, Lozano 13, Dela Cruz 11, Narvasa 8, Solema 6, Restauro 5, Sanchez 3, Bamba 2, Albano 0, Ocampo 0, Jardiel 0, J. Adriano 0, R. Adriano 0.

Quarterscores: 32-11, 50-29, 67-43, 94-65

Fourth Game (Srs.)

UPHR 67 — Misa 19, Tayer 15, Javier 13, Barnson 8, Cuenco 6, Joe 3, Balboa 2, Botia 1, Mendoza 0, Aseron 0, Quiazon 0.

MIT 52 — Guevarra 12, Veranga 10, Dula 6, Gonzales 5, Sumalinog 4, Salud 4, Martin 3, Cruz 2, Gorospe 2, Del Rosario 2, Co 0.

Quarterscores: 19-13, 37-22, 50-33, 67-52.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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