Balanced Attack. Finally the STI College Junior Olympians found the balance that they so needed in disposing last year’s semifinalist, New Era University 90 – 78. Last year’s 16 year old main man has matured into a 17 year old phenom as Eric Sanchez shared top scoring honors with 17 points. Rookie sensation Elmer Labis bore the brunt of the defense and also exploded on offense in the second half as he scored 17 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and more importantly blocked 8 shots. His defensive stance against the Junior Hunters proved to be the main difference in the game.
The New Era team slowly crawled their way back to the game as they scored 18 points in the third quarter but at the end of the third canto the Olympians have erected a 16 point lead 66 – 52. This happened because of the superb job of the Olympians namely Jerome Ortega and Elmer Labis on defense as Ortega had a hey day stealing the ball while Labis bothered a lot of shots by the New Era big men. Unfortunately, before the Junior Olympians could call it a day the Junior Hunters unleashed a 15 – 2 run that wiped out the STI lead of 14 to just one 68-67 with still six minutes left.
The Olympians regrouped and went to the Pariñas and Labis tandem to torch the young Hunters. Labis connected on an And 1 play as he scored on a drive to the hook from a pass from Pariñas. Pariñas on the other hand also scored inside and played good defense which eventually gave the Junior Olympians breathing room as they unleashed their own run anchored on Labis. From a one point lead the Olympians scored once again to give them a 86 – 76 lead. The La Union connection of Vincent Amparao and Erven Silverie debuted with flying colors as they scored 10 points and 7 points respectively to help the Olympinas cause. Next stop- the St. Clare Junior Saints.
Sanchez 17, Labis 17, Pariñas 15, Ortega 11, Amparo 10, Silverie7, Sarmiento 5, Untalan 3, Dulalia 3, Sabacahan 2, Intong 0, Saldaña 0,
NEW ERA UNIVERSITY (78)
Roncal 23, Cabacungan 18, Bebit 16, Pelaez12, Francisco 4, Acuna 3, Marcial 2,
Quarterscores: 18 - 14, 41 - 34, 66 - 52, 90 - 78