Patriots drop Nat’ls slot versus Rizal
Rizal played a masterful game on both ends of the floor to upset the top-seeded Cavite, 73-91, in the Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) – Regionals final round match-up held at the MSEUF Gymnasium Lucena City, Quezon, on March 12. With the victory, the Rizal squad was awarded as the champions of PRISAA – Regionals, while Cavite came home as the first runner-up.
Patriot cager Cantimbuhan led the way for Cavite with 25 points. Meanwhile, green-and-white hoopsters Christian Loyola and Kobe Caronongan added 12 points and Jastine Kyle Amponin chipped in 7 points, as he was key in Cavite’s win in the last game. Cantimbuhan and Amponin stood out as part of the Mythical Five.
Rigorous first half
Cavite went all out early on in the game. Amponin opened the first game of the final series with a putback to give Cavite its first two points, 2-0. Cantimbuhan and Padrogaya provided quality Cavite offense, and in the closing moment of the first canto, they continued to score through lay-ups and ended the quarter clinging to a two-point lead, 19-13.
Despite the relentless effort of Cavite during the first quarter, the curse on Caviteños went on through the second quarter. With just 5:55 to play, the game tied at 25-all as Rizal was in hot pursuit in their offense and continued to penetrate the defense. Cavite pushed back to grab the driver’s seat during 3:37 mark when Caronongan made a lay-up to get closer to the opponent with a score of 29-32. At the end of rigorous first half, Rizal remained poised and secured the second period, 33-46.
Second half meeting
During the third quarter, Cavite had another slow pace as they found themselves down at the end of the second quarter, 25-27. The two teams struggled at the free throw line throughout the fourth quarter when both teams took eight attempts. Loyola and Cantimbuhan combined for 16 points but even that wasn’t enough to bring home the trophy as the last quarter did not go in favor of Cavite when Rizal seized their biggest lead of the game, 73-91.
After the match, first-time PRISAA – Regionals coach Arnold Oliveros explained what he learned in their defeat, “Siguro kailangang ayusin ‘yong individual defense namin, ayusin ‘yong mga attitude nila, [at] ‘yong maturity [ng mga player]. [Kasi] ‘pag dating doon sa game, minsan ang dali nilang ma-frustrate, unlike sa Rizal, champion team, composed sila. So ang gagawin ko, maraming tournaments na sasalihan para ma-expose sila nang ma-expose.”