Maclean Sabellina scores again
Vengeance is a good motivator. The STI College Olympians first lost to the CEU Scorpions in the first round when hotshot guard Axl Garcia shot the lights out of the University of Manila gym. That game is still fresh in the minds of the Olympians as the road to the final four becomes narrower for them as the coveted twice to beat advantage will pass means they have to beat the Scorpions. The Olympians did just that as they came from behind to beat the Centro Escolar Scorpions 74 – 68.
Keeno Alcantara directs the play
The Olympians actually started the game like a team possessed as they raced to a 27 – 15 lead at the start of the second quarter. Rookie guard RK Morales presided over the Olympians strong start but when he went out to take a breather the Scorpions came back. The Olympians were forced to numerous turnovers as the mendiola based squad were relentless in their pressure defense. The Olympians were also forced to take bad shots which gave the Scorpions time to recover and end the second quarter trailing by only four, 39 - 35.
Bautista's clutch free throw shooting
won it for the Olympians
The Scorpions started the second half with a five point binge that gave them a 40 – 39 lead as Fil-am guard Justin Antes presided over their onslaught. Leads would change a couple of times until Leward Lobaton hit another three pointer that gave the Scorpions momentum with a 50 – 46 lead. They would end the quarter up against the Olympians by eight as technical fouls on Cameroon center Henri Betayene for trash talking and a Maclean Sabellina unsportsmanlike foul gave the SCoprions a 56 – 48 lead.
Henri Betayene scores
The Olympians half court defense came into full bloom with Jasper Melano and RK Morales becoming recipients of lead passes which they converted to cut down the CEU lead to four 63 – 59 with 3:55 left in the game. The Olympians eventually stormed ahead on a three point play in reverse by RK Morales and Henri Betayene. Betayene grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and followed it up for the Olympians to go up 66- 64. The Olympians canned 10 free throws in the closing seconds as Jerald Bautista went 4 -4 from the stripe, RK Morales 2-2 and Hessed Gabo 4-4 in the last two minutes. These free shots eventually gave more breathing room for the Olympians who eventually got the win. This win gave the Olympians the second seed as their nearest pursuers will be the Informatics Icons who have the bottom draw fdor their last three games. The Olympians area now 13 – 3.
Norman Ihalas on the drive