Defending champion Daniel avoided the upset axe of Ezekiel after pulling off a 71-69 win in the first game in the 4th Genesis Cup Christian Churches Inter-Color Basketball League last Monday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Andrew Paulino and Alain Nunez saved the day for Daniel, which retained its flawless record in five games and took the solo lead in the eight-team league after the close victory against Ezekiel (2-3). Paulino picked the pocket of Ezekiel’s Mike Surima after the inbound play from the backcourt and fed Nunez for the go-ahead basket at the buzzer. Daniel stole the victory despite trailing by 4 points going into the last minute of the match.
Paulino and Nunez combined for 21 points in Daniel’s fifth win with the latter drilling 7 of them in the second half to back up Angelo Hernaez, who sizzled for 16 and made up for his 2-point performance in the first frame. Reli Del Rio and Dindo Pablo added 9 and 5, respectively, in the second half to finish in twin digits with 13 apiece.
Paulino had 8 of his 12 in the first half to pace Daniel and kept the team in the match, 30-31. Surima led Ezekiel in the first 20 minutes of play, knocking in 10, while Vhoi Francia contributed 9 before slowing down in the second, tallying only 2 markers.
Surima kept going in the second half and Ezekiel had the chance to go for the last shot and the victory under the 10-second mark of the match. However, Paulino made the crucial steal, while Nunez completed the important play, faking off his defenders before going up for the game-winning shot.
Meanwhile, Caleb handed Isaiah its first loss this season after working out a 74-65 victory in their duel last Friday.
Caleb got off to a strong start, leading at 43-29, and never looked back to snap Isaiah’s four-game winning run.
The trio of Nathan Borromeo, Joseph Gatdula, and Edison Castro made things happen for Caleb in the first half. They combined for 29 points in the opening half with Gatdula getting into double figures early with his 12 points. Borromeo contributed 9, while Castro posted 8 to give Caleb a 14-point halftime advantage.
Borromeo and Gatdula picked up where they left off in the second half to keep Caleb’s safe distance and complete the upset against the erstwhile leader.
Caleb 74 – Borromeo 21, Gatdula 20, Castro 10, Cabanas 8, Morales 6, Bacani 4, Ocanada 2, Gozon 2.
Isaiah 65 – Estanislao 15, Ibanez 12, Brillo 10, Cortez 8, Fatialofa 6, Arroyo 4, Vergara 4, Puno 4, Dalusung 2, De Leon 2.
Scoring by halves: 43-29, 74-65.
Daniel 71 – Hernaez 18, Del Rio 13, Pablo 13, Paulino 12, Nunez 9, Robles 4, Del Carmen 2.
Ezekiel 69 – Surima 28, Irog 12, Francia 11, Eubanks 10, Alcantara 8, Rebong 4, Conti 4.
Scoring by halves: 30-31, 71-69.