Coming from a shutout win over University of Makati (UMak), the Patriots got a taste of their own medicine against last year’s NCRAA (National Capital Region Athletic Association) champions, the Philippine Merchant Marine School (PMMS) Mariners, after failing to complete a late miracle run, 75-95, in the bracket – B eliminations of the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCR-UCLAA) at the UMak gym on January 23.
Despite the setback, Patriot head coach Arnold Oliveros is still hopeful for greener pastures. “Siguro masyado pang bata ang players natin … pero positive naman ako [at] alam ko darating ‘yong time na magkakaroon din kami ng experience through game. So padahan-dahan kahit papaano, sana ma-overcome namin ‘yong pagiging immature lalo na sa game,” the coach shared.
Before the final touches, DLSU-D trimmed the cushion by as much as 16 with a 30-8 run capped by Patriot Kobe Caronongan’s trey at 9:15. But the demolishing run ended with veteran Mariner Elvin Chan’s three-pointer as a counter attack at the end of the shot clock at 1:44, 72-92.
After setting a 1 of 6 shooting clip in the starting half, Patriot Pacholo Loor showed his clutch shooting after tallying 20 of his 25 points in the final canto—shooting four three-pointers and leading a 33-19 offensive punch in the endgame. Playing from an A-game in their last match, Patriot captain John Cantimbuhan went into the battle silent after posting 15 markers, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Meanwhile, Patriot rookie big man Kobe Jun Caronongan contributed 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Despite encountering an offensive and defensive meltdown, Patriot Egie Boy Mojica grabbed a team-high eight boards.
Burying the Patriots, player of the game and Mariner Donmark Matillano scorched the Patriots with a 30-point outbreak while grabbing eight rebounds.
Sinking green-and-white ship
It was also a battle off the glass as the Mariners outlasted the Patriots in the rebounding section, 55-37, with 26 offensive rebounds for the Las Piñas-based squad that produced 21 second-chance points. DLSU-D’s 19 turnovers in the first half aided the Mariners’ momentum during the second quarter where the Patriots were outscored, 12-28, resulting into a 21-48 scoreboard. The green-and-white squad also found their weapons were not running in the first half, shooting just 23 percent (7 out of 30).
The Mariners’ championship arsenal came in as early as the first frame, limiting the Patriots offense in the first seven minutes, 4-17. But stellar Patriot holdover Cantimbuhan countered the wave with a 5-0 run, 9-20. Finishing the quadrant, first quarter’s Mariner leading scorer Gilbero Richmond chipped in a three pointer at 1.7 seconds left, 9-20.
In the second half, DLSU-D kept PMMS’s scoring rhythm and minimized their pivotal turnovers to seven while disrupting the Mariners pursuit with 21-30 third span offense. After drowning the Patriots, the win was earned by the Mariners despite DLSU-D’s offensive surge in the fourth, 75-95.
DLSU-D joined National College of Business and Arts (NCBA) Hardy Herons and Saint Francis of Assisi – Las Piñas Doves, and their opponent, the Mariners, with a 1-1 record.
Still hunting for the crown, the Animo squad will square off with NCBA at the UMak gym, January 30 at 10 in the morning.