Taking it one game at a time, the St. John’s Institute Under 16 basketball team nailed its fourth straight win by routing Holy Child of Davao, 114-88, in the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas National Juniors Championship at the Eastern College Gym, Baguio City yesterday.
Bucking a first quarter stomach injury, Kirell Brahndon Montalbo continued to deliver the points needed by the young Falcons to keep their record unblemished in the tournament.
It was another sterling performance from Montalbo, who finished the game with 44 points, despite being temporarily sidelined in the first quarter after he was accidentally elbowed on the stomach.
It was another impressive display of team effort for SJI as Leland Francis Dusaban, Thirdy Montinola, and Alec Rojas, carried the load for the Falcons when Montalbo was forced to rest.
The Johnians dominated the game as the Davoeños tried but failed to keep pace with them in all four quarters.
A slim 21-19 by SJI in the opening quarter ballooned to 53-41 at halftime as Montalbo rejoined his team and scored 16 points, including three triples, while Dusaban continued with his outstanding play and added 10 points with two from the three-point arc.
The third quarter saw more of SJI’s smooth-running offense with Montalbo adding 14 points to his credit while Montinola hitting two triples and Dusaban chipping in 4 more point to extend the Falcons lead to 80-62 going into the payoff quarter.
There was no turning back for the Bacoleños in the fourth quarter as they continued to convert their baskets and pad the lead to as high as 30 points before settling for a 26-point winning margin.
Montalbo capped his sizzling performance with 13 points in the fourth quarter, while Dusaban and Jai Arroyo picked up additional 6 points each.
Dusaban tallied 28 points at the end of the game, while Montinola finished with 15, Rojas netted 10 points with his low post attacks, Carlo Sian shot 4, Juan Diego Montoya, Jose Juson and Edgar Ducay made 2 points each and Toper Co with a single point.
Off Guard Jose Kenneth Aguanta led Holy Child with 34 points.
Despite their 4-0 record in the eliminations, SJI is not yet assured of a slot in the semifinals as the team needs to get past La Union College of Nursing and Arts Sciences in their assignment today.
SJI needs to beat La Union to avoid a triple jam in the top two spots of their bracket. University of Visayas, their first victim, now totes a 3-1 record and will play against St. Clare College of Caloocan on its last game.
UV tamed La Union by 13 points, while SJI won over UV, 99-91.*with a report from Stephen Tan
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