The Meralco Bolt's Anjo Caram does the ceremonial toss to start the National Finals
STI College Santa Rosa took time to heat up but still got the job done by beating Mindanao champion STI College Koronadal 73 - 51 at the start of the National Finals week of the STI National Basketball tournament at the Eusebio H. Tanco gymnasium at the STI College Ortigas-Cainta Campus. June Aliparo led the Laguna based Luzon topnotchers by scoring 29 points and giving STI College Santa Rosa more breathing room as they gave the South Cotabato based champs a rude welcome.
June Aliparo sinks a three-pointer
The first quarter started with both teams sizing each other up and showing good defense against each other. The trio of Bernard Caguisano Jr., Norman Puerto and Kenneth Libdan carried the fight for the Southerners as they were on the verge of taking the first quarter until a last second heave by Raul Guerrero tied the score at 16 – all. Both teams were oozing with energy and were not giving any room for each other to score that resulted in a tie after one quarter.
Vince Romero scores on a jumper
In the second quarter, STI College Santa Rosa began to slightly pull away as the Laguna tightened their defense more that made the Mindanao team score only 9 points as against the 18 of South Luzon champs. RJ Guerrero scored 10 points in this quarter and teamed up with Aliparo as they surged ahead 34 – 25 amidst a scoring drought by the Koronadal team.
In the third quarter June Aliparo fuelled the Santa Rosa offense once again as he scored 13 points with most of the points coming from the rainbow area and the free throw as he was fouled while taking a three-pointer. With Norman Puerto and Cris Valencia pacing the Koronadal team, their efforts were still in vain as the Santa Rosa team outscored them 25 – 18 which gave STI College Santa Rosa a 59 – 42 lead going to the pay-off period.
Addis Lizen on the drive
In the fourth quarter, STI College Santa Rosa took care of their lead but still defended well and their lead eventually ballooned to 20 points. STI College Santa Rosa had a better stat line against the Mindanao champs as they outrebounded them 51 – 43, had more assists 16 – 9 and shot better with a 39% clip against Koronadal’s 28 % shooting. In stark contrast Santa Rosa actually had more turnovers 22 – 18, lesser steals 6 – 7 and blocks 4 – 8.
STI COLLEGE SANTA ROSA (73)
Aliparo 29, Guerrero 19, Ursua 9, Lizen 4, Fabic 3, Hercia Jer. 3, Hercia Jes. 2, Romero 2, Romualdo 2, Adato 0, Ibbara 0,
STI COLLEGE KORONADAL (51)
Caguisano Jr. 12, Puerto 12, Valencia 9, Sulit 8, Libdan 5, Castillo Jr. 2, Ignacio 2, Lopez 1, Caguisano J. 0, Famulag 0, Morte 0, Soliva 0
Quarterscores: 16 – all, 34 - 25, 59 – 42, 73 – 51