|Posted on January 30, 2011 at 8:17 PM|
TL ASPIRANTS REPORT
By Henry Liao
Team Standings: Xavier School (5-0), Chiang Kai Shek College (4-1), St. Jude Catholic School (2-2), St. Stephen’s High School (2-2), Hope Christian High School (1-3), Uno High School (1-3) and Grace Christian College (0-4).
Xavier School, the seven-time defending champion in the Aspirants Division of the 41st Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association, came within one game of sweeping the single-round elimination phase with a pulsating 78-76 decision over St. Stephen’s High School last January 30 at the CKSC Gym.
The Xavier Aspirants, who now own a 15-game winning streak over three seasons (since Game Three of the 2009 Finals), heaved a sigh of relief after a midcourt heave by a St. Stephen’s player at the game buzzer banked the boards before rimming out.
The Stephenians, who had trailed since late in the first quarter, deadlocked the score at 75-all with one minute and four seconds left. Eleven seconds later, Wilton Ching missed a pair of free throws that could have given them the lead since the game’s early minutes (10-5, 14-10).
Ivan Yeung scored underneath to give Xavier a 77-75 advantage with 31 ticks left. In the next play, SSHS again split its free throws to trail by a point, 77-76, at the 0:16 mark.
Tyler Tio, a cerebral swingman, halved his two charity shots with four seconds remaining as Xavier held on for a 78-76 victory.
Tree-like Aldrich Tan, a 14-year-old seventh grader in the mold of a young Greg Slaughter, scored eight of Xavier’s final 11 points and finished with 19. Tio wound up with 15 markers.
In other games, Chiang Kai Shek College survived a 42-point explosion by Mark Nuñez to defeat Hope Christian High School, 61-55, and Uno High School routed Grace Christian College, 84-49, to post its first victory in four assignments.
Chiang Kai Shek College’ lone setback in five games came in a 65-61 loss to Xavier School on opening day.
Xavier School, which plays Uno High School on Feb. 5 in its final elimination-round encounter, is assured of the No. 1 spot in the four-team semifinal playoffs. Chiang Kai Shek College is also guaranteed of the No. 2 berth as the Blue Dragons’ last assignment will be against winless Grace Christian College.
St. Jude Catholic School and St. Stephen’s High School will face other on Feb. 5 with the winner taking the No. 3 spot.
In the semifinal playoffs on February 8, the No. 1 seed (Xavier School) will take on the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed (CKSC) will go up against the No. 3 seed. Both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over their respective foes.
The best-of-three finals will have playdates of February 12 and February 14. A third game, if necessary, will be played on February 17.
1-Mark Nuñez, Hope Christian HS (4 g, 26-34-46-42, 148 = 37.0 ppg)
2-Clinton Choa, Uno HS (4 g, 13-20-40-21, 94 = 23.5 ppg)
3-Aldrich Tan, Xavier School (5 g, 28-020-13-26-19, 106 = 21.2 ppg)
4-Joseph Pe, Grace Christian College (4 g, 6-3-36-26, 71 = 17.8 ppg)
5-Evan Ong, St. Stephen’s HS (4 g, 14-18-18-22, 72 = 18.0 ppg)
6-Tyron Chan, St. Stephen’s HS (4 g, 11-35-10-14, 70 = 17.5 ppg)
7-Jayson Jimenez, CKSC (5 g, 15-18-18-20-3, 74 = 14.8 ppg)
8-Ralph Chua, St. Jude CS (4 g, 10-14-18-17, 59 = 14.8 ppg)
9-Tyler Tio, Xavier School (5 g, 15-12-17-11-15, 70 = 14.0 ppg)