Games on Sunday at USLS
5 p.m. UNO-R vs. CSA-B
6:30 p.m. USLS vs. USLS
The West Negros University Mustangs re-asserted their dominance in the local collegiate basketball scene with an emphatic 80-72 against the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Rams as the second round of the NOPSSCEA men’s basketball competition started last night at the CSA-B Gym.
With the win, the Mustangs effectively avenged their 106-103 double overtime loss to the Rams and got back on track of their bid for a 14th straight basketball title in the NOPSSCEA.
In taming the Rams, head coach Troy Sarabia gave credits to his players, especially big men Rashmor Catalino and Errol Doromal, who were seemingly unstoppable at low post.
“After Sunday’s loss, we’re back to zero and we started to train hard and made some adjustments for our next game,” Sarabia said.
Catalino, who once again led the Mustangs scorers with 21 points, was the proverbial “fireman” who douses the spark whenever the Rams started to rally.
Leading as much as 13 points at the end of the third quarter, the Mustangs were in complete control of the game after taking the opening quarter at 16-13 and posting a 35-31 halftime lead.
Poised to deal the defending champions its second loss in the tournament, the Rams started strong in the second half and managed to grab the lead at 36-35 with 8:27 left on Chris John Dayumat’s jumper, while JP Calma made it a three-point advantage at 38-35 as the Mustangs failed to score in transition.
The slim margin of the Rams, however, was easily wiped out as Doromal and Andrada scored a basket each and Catalino converted two free throws for a 43-38 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
Refusing to give up easily, the UNO-Rians managed to cut the lead to one point at 44-45 after Calma completed a three-point play, but again, Catalino was there to bail the Mustangs out of trouble as he scored another basket on a one-on-one play.
The lead ballooned to 10 points with 2:39 left in the third quarter as the diminutive Mustang rookie Renz Solomon hit a three-pointer for a 56-46 lead.
It was an all-Mustangs show in the fourth quarter as the Rams gave up precious points as they failed to stop Catalino and Doromal from scoring on post-up plays.
Doromal and Solomon backed up Catalino in the scoring department with 12 points each while Jeramer Cabanag finished with 9 points and JV Veloso with 8 points.
Topscoring for the Rams was Cedrick Eslabon with 22 points, Calma tallied 18 points, while Joemel Paderog delivered 8 points.
Games in the second round resume tomorrow at the USLS Gym with the Rams and the CSA-B Eagles clashing in the first game at 5 p.m. while the USLS Stingers and Mustangs face each other for the second time in the second game.*NAB
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