Underdog St. Joseph crowned ‘C’ champs

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Monday, April 21, 2014

ST. JOSEPH dictated the tempo of the ball game completing its Cinderella story tobag the championship in bracket C of the 8th Panagbenga Cup Invitational Basketball Tournament.

After eliminating bracket C leader Jireh in the Semis, St. Joseph simply dominated Team Sergeross in the finals, 104-91, at the Easter College gym Sunday evening.

“We came out crawling the obstacle in the eliminations, we toppled the twice to beat advantage of our opponents in the semi-finals, and right now we still can’t believe we came out as champions,” said team captain Bem Pimentel.


Pimentel came out as the finals most valuable player firing away 17 points including four out of six three pointers, three rebounds, and two steals.

"The MVP award may have been given to me but through the whole season all of my teammates performed like one, we all deserve this and I could have not done it without them," Pimentel said.

After trailing by two at the close of the first period, 23-25, St Joseph put their acts together in the second quarter behind the combined 39 points output from stringers Pimentel, Dave Stapely, Alvin Alindoza, and Jonas Gacula and lead at half time, 49-42.

Sergeross rallied in the first two minutes of the third canto on a 9-0 run anchored by as Efren Mariano, Rey Bilibli, and Kier Gonzaga for a 49-51 lead with 8:25 remaining in the period.

But St. Joseph once again turned to their bench with Jun Ramos and Ralph Mendoza teaming up with Alindoza and Stapely sparking another run to close out the third with a 73 – 65 edge.

Sergeross tried to stage another comeback in the pay off canto but St. Joseph had an answer to every rally capped by an air tight defense as Gacula, Stapely, Pimentel, and Bhogs Gatbonton padded the lead with 23 more points for the win.

“This was really an answered prayer for all of us, at last we managed to develop a well-rounded team roster that has been improving all throughout the season,” said playing coach Stapely.

Stapely broke his own season’s double-double record with 24 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.

Former UB Cardinals Alindoza also charged St. Joseph with 22 points, eight boards, four steals, and three assists. Gacula chipped in 17 markers, three steals, three assists, and a block, while Ramos put up a season high of 11 points.

Meanwhile, Mariano led Sergeross with 28 points, while Rey Bilibli added 22. Kier Gonzaga and Allan Polea scored 17 and 12, accordingly.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 22, 2014.


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