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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, November 19, 2012
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Montalbo carries SJI to semifinals;
WNU, UNO-R in `grudge match’

St. John’s Institute high school boys’ basketball team beat defending champion West Negros University junior Mustangs, 89-78, then did the same thing to University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos junior Rams, 73-64, to clinch the first semifinal ticket in NOPSSCEA junior basketball at the WNU Gym over the weekend.

The twin victories gave the SJI Falcons the No. 1 seat in their bracket, leaving WNU and UNO-R to scramble for the last berth, as University of St. La Salle- IS bows out of contention with two straight losses.

The junior Mustangs and junior Rams will slug it out on Nov. 24 at 10 a.m., in a match-up dubbed by SJI head coach Dexter Dy as a “grudge match” between the two schools.

In taming the Mustangs, Dy said the Falcons got a big lift from the 36-point performance of Kib Montalbo, aided by teammates Eldric Go, Carlo Sian, Leland Francis Dusaban, Alec Rojas, Jai Arroyo and Thirdy Montinola.

Go, finished with 15 points, while Sian tallied 11 points, Jison added 10 points, Dusaban chipped in 9 markers, Rojas with 4 and Arroyo and Montinola with 2 points each.

Against the UNO-R junior Rams yesterday, SJI once again relied on Montalbo’s top-level game as he sizzled with 26 points, while Arroyo exploded with 16 markers, Go delivered 9, Sian with 8, Rojas contributed 6, and Dusaban and Jison with 2 points apiece to keep the Falcons unbeaten in the tournament.

Dy said both the Mustangs and the Rams were tough opponents to contend with and the quarterfinal match-up between the two teams this Saturday will be something to look forward to.

“We know that these two schools have some unsettled business in the collegiate basketball. It will be an exciting game this Saturday,” Dy said.

Mentored by veteran basketball coach Jack Tumayan, the junior Mustangs hope to advance in the top four to keep its title retention bid alive.

The WNU boys beat SJI and bagged the junior basketball crown last year to represent the NOPSSCEA in the provincial meet, then went on to win in the regional meet against Iloilo, before finishing third place in the Palarong Pambansa in Pangasinan last summer.

The junior Rams, meanwhile, has a bigger line-up this year and is being mentored by Rolando “Girom” Aledron, also the head coach of its collegiate team.

The team hopes to duplicate the feat of the UNO-R high school girls’ basketball squad, who successfully defended their title last week against St. Joseph School-La Salle.

Meanwhile, also gunning for the two semifinals seat in the other bracket are Bacolod Tay Tung High School, St. Joseph High School-LS, Trinity Christian School, and Bacolod Christian College-Negros.

The BTTHS Blue Dragons is perched at the top with a 2-0 win-loss card but still has a game left against SJHS-LS (1-1) this Saturday, while Trinity will play against BCCN.*NAB

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