The Makati Coliseum has never been friendly to the STI College Olympians. Prior to the final four game of this year’s NAASCU where they won against the Informatics Icons, the Olympians lost their title to the San Sebastian College Cavite Baycats in 2008 in the same venue where they missed 20 free throws. Today, 11 missed free throws spelled the difference as the five time NAASCU Champions University of Manila Hawks eked out a hard earned 78 -73 win over the 2007 champs, the STI College Olympians.
Cedrick Ablaza scores
The Hawks and the Olympians battled on equal footing in the first quarter with no team leading with more than four points. The Olympians went inside with Abby Chavez creating havoc through his drives to the hoop. When the Hawks were trying to pull away after leading 6-2, the Olympians would fight back to lead 9-6. Randelle Colina, the Hawk’s number one gunner came into the fray and immediately made his presence felt with a booming triple. Colina made the score 13-11 after going coast to coast on a drive with 3 seconds left. Unfortunately for them Olympian guard Hesed Gabo converted on a miracle half-court heave to put the Olympians ahead after a quarter 14 – 13.
A steal and a lay-up
The second quarter was pretty much the same, everytime the Olympians would try to pull-away, the Hawks would rifle out a three pointer and immediately get back in the game. Colina and Torres would always keep the Hawks at bay while rookies Jasper Melaño and Abby Chavez would pump up the Olympians offense. The half ended with the Olympians still on top by one 32 – 31. After the first half, the Hawks got a lucky break when the Olympians Cameroonian center Henri Atanga – Betayene was called for a technical foul after fouling UM’s Eugene Torres. The Hawks scored five points on that turn which they used to put a gap between them and the Olympians, the superb passing of the Hawks eventually got them easy shots and by the end of the third quarter the Hawks were already on top by 10, 60 – 50.
RK Morales topscored
In the fourth quarter, the Olympians would come back through the efforts of ace point guard RK Morales, forward Jasper Melano and Hesed Gabo. The three would erase a 67- 55 UM lead by limiting the Hawks scoreless for the last half of the quarter and threaten to within one point 74 – 73 with five seconds to go. The Olympians then fouled the Hawks and the five time champions converted five free throws to end the game.
Game two is on Friday October 1, 2010 at the Makati Coliseum.
UNIVERSITY OF MANILA (78)
Colina 29, Torres 18, Manuel 12, Tamayo 6, Ibay 6, Viernes 6, Pateno 1, Rabalo 0, Tan 0.
Morales 15, Gabo 10, Melano 10, Chavez 8, Bautista 8, Beteyene 7, Ihalas 5, Alcantara 4, Sabelina 3, Ablaza 2, Riva 1, Daguplo 0.
Quarter Scores: 13-14, 31-32, 60-50, 78-73.