STI College Cubao leaned on its running game, high octane offense and more importantly their heart to eke out a hard earned 98 -91 double overtime victory over STI College San Jose to get the last slot to the STI National Basketball tournament National Finals. Just like in their previous game, the Cubao squad was led by Carl Meehlieb’s 32 points and was ably supported by his brother Kim with 20 points.
With the score tied at 86 - all, with 2:55 remaining in the second overtime, STI College San Jose hotshot Renz Mecauyam sank a cold blooded three pointer that gave the Nueva Ecija squad a three point lead and the momentum going into crunch time. STI College responded with two turnovers that almost sealed their doom. But, the team from Cubao, unwilling to lose summoned their last remaining strength as the Meehlieb Brothers, Carl and Kim conspired to deliver a crushing 12- 2 run in the last two minutes to give them the win.
STI College Cubao seized the upperhand early as the Meehlieb brothers once again tightened their grip on defense, got lots of loose balls and steals that they translated to fastbreak points. At the end of the first half the team from Cubao was leading by 11 points. STI College Cubao dropped a 19 – 8 run as the run and gun game of the Cubao squad found its mark. Unfortunately for STI College San Jose, they did not know what hit them.
The second half had a different scenario as the Nueva Ecija quintet came back after their Cubao counterparts relaxed a bit. John Ramirez finally put STI College San Jose ahead 64 – 63 after they dropped an 8 – 0 bomb to seize the lead. The team from Nueva Ecija eventually took a two point lead with 28 seconds left after Macauyam sank a three pointer to tie the game and Jonatan Manali scored off a jumper with 28 seconds left to give them a 71- 69 lead. Carl Meehlieb would eventually score on two free throws to tie the game with five seconds left.
STI College San Jose had a chance to win the game but Macauyam’s side jumper rimmed out thus sending the game to overtime. In the first overtime, both teams both fought without giving any quarters until Kim Meehlieb went on a 5- 0 run to give the QC squad an 82 – 78 lead with 1:32 to play. Macauyam and Manali then countered with four points to tie the score at 82 – all. STI College San Jose had another chance to win the game but unfortunately time ran out on their possession as they were whistled for a twenty five second violation. Carl Meehlieb missed a potential game winner in the first overtime but more than made up for it with his heroics in the waning seconds of the second overtime. The win gave this year’s Cinderella team a new lease of life as their amazing run still be witnessed in the grandest stage , the STI NBT National Finals.