In just the second game of this year’s STI College Junior Olympians, they have already surpassed last year’s win record. Center Elmer Labis made sure that the Junior Olympians would not falter as he scored 14 points to help the Junior Olympians recover from a monumental collapse to win against the St. Clare College Junior Saints 63 – 57 at the STI Gym at the fort in Taguig City. More than his scoring, the defensive presence of Labis was all the young Olympians needed to salvage the win.
The Olympians started the game like a house on fire as they raced to a 17 - 9 first quarter lead mainly on the timely hits of Labis and the scoring of point guard Charlon Untalan. The Junior Olympians were in control of game but the Junior Saints kept on coming back as they cut the lead in the second quarter 24- 20. In came La Union shooter Erven Silverie as he found himself open most of the time as Labis was double teamed. The 16 year old Silverie scored 12 points on four three point shots as he gave the Junior Olympians breathing room after the Junior Saints came close, the half ended with the Junior Olympians on top 35 – 30.
The third quarter saw the Junior Olympians start in a maze of errors that made the Junior Saints come back and take the lead. From a 30 – 35, the Junior Saints clamped down on the STI team as they uncorked an 11 – 0 run to give them a six point lead. The Olympians did not know what hit them as they went scoreless for six minutes until Pari Pariñas scored on two free throws. The team was pulverized by the Saints defense as the STI team failed to counter the St Clare attack. After that tumultuous third quarter, STI Coach Raymond Tiongson brought in the two team spark plugs, Elmer Labis and Jerome Ortega. Ortega’s no nonsense defense created opportunities for the STI team as he dictated the tempo of the game through his defense. With the score tied at 53 – all with 3:09 left in the game, the Junior Olympians uncorked a 10 – 4 wind up anchored on Labis as the STI team booked their second straight win. Next stop, the AMACU Junior Titans.
STI COLLEGE (63)
Labis 14, Silverie 12, Untalan 9, Dulalia 8, Ortega 5, Amparo 4, Sanchez 3, Sabacahan 3, INtong 2, Pariñas 2,Saldaña 0,
ST. CLARE (57)
Albalos 13, Mercado 9, Paltao 8, Barte 7, Macapulay 7, de Mesa 6, Pantanugan 3, Federez 2,
Quarter scores: 17 – 9, 35 – 30, 42 - 49, 63 - 57