DOVES, EAGLES SOAR OVER FOES IN 'SWEET 16' LEAGUE 2003

MANILA, NOVEMBER 14, 2003 (STAR) These Doves can fly high. And they can shoot, too.

St. Francis of Assisi unloaded five three-pointers in the fourth quarter to topple Adamson University, 62-55 yesterday at the start of the 2003 Champions League "Sweet 16" action at the Makati Coliseum.

Ateneo de Manila survived a gritty Jose Rizal five for an 83-76 decision in the second game with four Blue Eagles hitting in double figures. Wesley Gonzales fired 18 points and he was backed up by Ramon Bugia with 17, Rich Alvarez (15) and Larry Fonacier (14).

After missing their first 15 tries from beyond the arc, the Doves connected on all five attempts in the fourth to take the wings off the Falcons.

Six-foot-six slotman Ervin Sotto started the Doves’ shooting spree midway in the fourth to give back the lead to his team, 48-46.

Four more triples, one each from Ranidel de Ocampo and 6-6 Nizar Kiram and another couple from Sotto, gave St. Francis its biggest lead, 60-50, under a minute to go.

The Doves raced to a 29-24 halftime lead behind the guns of De Ocampo and Al Vergara, who both have 10 points at the turn.

But the Falcons quickly turned the tide in the third, scoring the quarter’s first seven points to grab the lead at 31-29 on a Patrick Cabahug triple.

With the win, St. Francis booked a spot in the Round of 8 for the second straight year. Last year the UCAA and NCRAA champion was installed favorite in the tournament sponsored by Pagcor, PCSO and Adidas but got ambushed in the Round of 8 by eventual runner-up Far Eastern U.

De Ocampo led the winner with 19 points and 14 rebounds while Sotto and Vergara chipped in 17 and 14, respectively. Vergara also had seven rebounds and nine assists.

Tomorrow’s Sweet 16 actions pit NAASCU champion University of Manila against San Sebastian and NCAA king Letran against Emilio Aguinaldo College at the PhilSports Arena.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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