All set for PCYAA Finals
BASKETBALL competitions in the 12-Under Developmental and 14-Under Aspirants divisions of the 6th Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) – a multi-sports league featuring youthful athletes from nine Chinese-Filipino high schools in the Metro Manila area – have reached their final stages.
And it was only fitting that the top two teams in each of the two divisions are facing each other in the best-of-three finals this week at the Uno High School gym in Tondo, Manila.
The Uno High School Blue Pandas arranged a finals date with early qualifier and unbeaten defending champion St. Stephen’s High School in the 12-Under Developmental division with a scintillating 70-63 victory over last year’s runner-up Jubilee Christian Academy last Sunday in their do-or-die semifinal-series duel.
Jubilee was ahead, 59-58, when Kenji Tang buried back-to-back three-pointers for Uno. This jumpstarted a 10-0 spree by the Panda Cubs that was punctuated by consecutive baskets from Murphy Lim and Austin Ramos and gave the team a 68-59 advantage with 3:01 to go. The Jubileeans never recovered from the offensive avalanche.
Lim finished with 29 points – 19 of them in the second half – along with 13 rebounds and eight steals in 32 minutes for No. 2 seed Uno. Sheehan Tan collected 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead third-seeded Jubilee.
The first game of the best-of-three Developmental finals will be held on Tuesday, December 11 (5:30 p.m.), at the Uno High School gym.
In the 14-Under Aspirants competitions, No. 1 seed Saint Jude Catholic School hung tough at crunch time in registering a heart-stopping 54-52 win over No. 4 seed Pace Academy.
The hard-earned victory sent the Green Knights to a best-of-three titular series with early qualifier and second-seeded St. Stephen’s High School starting Tuesday, December 11 (7 p.m.), also at the Uno HS gym.
Saint Jude trailed nearly the entire game, its largest lead being four points, 49-45, following a 10-0 run bridging the third (last two) and fourth (first eight) quarters. It marked the first time that the Green Knights had held the upperhand since 6-5 in the early minutes of the first frame.
\Pace was still ahead, 52-51, at the 3:28 mark but Saint Jude’s heady guard Kobe Chong netted a fielder with 2:55 left that turned out to be the game’s winning basket for the Green Knights as the Pacers misfired on five attempts, some of them from close range, in successive possessions.
Pace, though, still had a chance to tie or even snatch victory after bulky SJCS slotman John Tan split his free throws with 8.3 ticks remaining. The Pacers rebounded Tan’s errant second charity attempt but Matt Barandino failed to connect on a left corner triple as the game buzzer sounded and sealed the victory for the Green Knights.
Chong chalked up 25 points and hauled down 10 rebounds to banner Saint Jude. Feisty guard Kleivz Fong netted 19 markers and 10 boards in a losing cause for Pace, which dropped a 2-1 decision to Grace Christian College in last year’s Aspirants finals.
The nine members of the PCYAA league are Season 6 host MGC-New Life Christian Academy, Pace Academy, Saint Jude Catholic School, Uno High School, Philippine Cultural College, Grace Christian College, Jubilee Christian Academy, second-year St. Stephen’s High School and on-leave Saint Peter the Apostle School.
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