Down by 10 points with eight minutes left in the game, St. John’s Institute cagers turned on their defense and shifted into high gear to turn back St. Clare College of Caloocan, 83-71, to register their third straight victory in the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas Under 16 National Juniors Championship at the University of Baguio Gym, Baguio City yesterday.
Despite getting himself in foul trouble in the third quarter, Kib Montalbo bailed out the young Falcons from trouble by scoring 14 points in the final quarter to lead SJI to victory.
Jai Arroyo and Carlo Sian provided the much needed back up for Montalbo, with Arroyo delivering six points and Sian with four points in the endgame. Leland Dusaban and Thirdy Montinola combined for five points for a 29 fourth quarters output.
The young Falcons had the game under control in the first half as they took the first quarter, 18-14, and held on for a one point lead at halftime, 38-37.
But things got shaky for SJI in the second half as Montalbo committed his fourth foul and was forced to sit out a majority of the third quarter.
Taking advantage of SJI’s key player’s absence, St. Clare rallied and grabbed the lead, 61-54, end of third quarter.
It was the turn of St. John’s dribblers to catch up with St. Clare at the start of the payoff quarter with a double-digit deficit stacked against them.
Tightening their defense on St. Clare’s shooters and moving the ball well, the young Falcons from Bacolod City thwarted the efforts of their counterparts from Caloocan.
Sian finished with 13 points, Arroyo shot 12, Montinola tallied 8, Dusaban had 6, Alec Rojas made 4 points, and Edgar Ducay contributed 2 points..
Busaodre led St. Clare with 19 points, while the towering duo of Masangkay and Hernandez, both 6 feet and 1 inch, had 17 and 11 points, respectively.
SJI will face Holy Child of Davao at 1 p.m. today. Holy Child earlier bowed to St. Clare 73-58 in their encounter.*with a report from Stephen Tan
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