The University of St. La Salle-Integrated School 12-Under basketball team will be defending their title in the Provincial Meet starting Dec. 16 after winning their third straight championship in the NOPSSCEA this season.
The Arland Blanco-mentored Baby Stingers defeated St. John’s Institute, 71-56, in the finals to assert their dominance in the tournament. The La Salle boys also prevailed over the SJI Baby Falcons in the elimination round.
Strengthening their defense in the first half, the Baby Stingers started off with a 12-0 run and gained 24-12 first quarter advantage as the Falcons had difficulty in bringing the ball past the midcourt.
Andre Dadivas, Lance Jomalesa and Kian Tecson combined for 20 points, while SJI was led by James Garrucho with 4 points.
The Baby Stingers kept the lead through the half at 41-26 as the trio of Dadivas, Lopingco and Tecson conspired for 13 points, even as Kish Suarez and Ralph Baldonado scored 8 and 4 points for the Baby Falcons.
Both teams slowed down offensively in the third quarter even as SJI's Ralph Chua delivered four points. Lack of scoring support from the SJI side allowed USLS-IS to keep a double digit lead at 51-38, seeing La Salle leading by as much as 18 points middle of the third quarter.
SJI rallied to cut the deficit at 11 points, but Dadivas continued to deliver the points for USLS-IS to seal their victory.
The Stingers faced Bacolod Tay tung High School in the semifinals, while SJI-Bacolod won over Trinity Christian School, to arrange a titular showdown.
Dadivas led the USLS-IS Baby Stingers with 30 points, Polo Lopingco finished with 10, Joshua Fuentebella scored 11 points and registered 10 blocks, Kian Tecson produced 10 points, Lance Jomalesa chipped in 4 points, Nevine Dela Cruz hit 5 points and Earl Villarino made 4 points.
Kish Suarez paced SJI with 22 points, Christian Calinawan made 6, Ralph Chua scored 5, Anton Albayda and James Garrucho had 4 points apiece, Eman Go and Miguel Sarmiento had 2 points each and Jared Tajonera with one point.*
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