La Salle Greenhills, San Beda bag titles
Rico Navarro (The Freeman) - December 4, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — The Manila teams were favored and they didn’t disappoint. La Salle Greenhills won its third straight SBP division national championship at the 32nd SBP Passerelle Tournament backed by Milo by hacking out a 66-51 win over Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu at the Cebu Coliseum. San Beda College, making its first trip to the national finals since 2006, also won convincingly, dousing the upset hopes of Holy Child College of Davao, 68-51, to win the Passerelle division national title.

 La Salle led from start to finish, going to its vaunted full-court pressure defense to take an early lead, never to look back despite the tough stand of the home team. Lorenzo Competente, who had a game-high 25 points, led a first quarter five that gave the Greenies a 23-9 lead with a lot of points coming off turnovers caused by a crippling press.

They built a 42-20 halftime lead, again relying on its defense, this time controlling SHS-Ateneo ace Jared Bahay in the second quarter. The lead ballooned to 27 points in the third period before it was cut to 54-36 going into the fourth period. SHS-Ateneo staged a rally in the fourth quarter cutting the lead to 13 points at 56-43 with five minutes left but that was the closest they would get. Competente took over anew to stop the Magis Eagles rally as LSGH increased the lead to 61-43 with three minutes left, a lead that would be protected until the end. Competente added nine boards to his 25 points while James Ison added 11 points and four steals. Joash Cutamora led SHS-Ateneo with 15 points and nine rebounds. Bahay added 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The Magis Eagles were hurt by their season-high 35 turnovers, spiked by twenty steals by La Salle.

 In the Passerelle division, San Beda’s ride to the title wasn’t as easy as they survived an early scare from Holy Child before settling down to coast to the championship. The Mindanao champion surprised San Beda by taking a 22-15 lead after the first quarter. The Red Cubs finally settled down in the second quarter taking a 33-32 halftime lead before riding on the momentum to build a 50-42 lead after three periods. The Red Cubs then held Holy Child to only nine fourth quarter points to coast to the win. Joshua Lazaro led San Beda with 12 points and 7 rebounds. John Patrick Javier had eight points and 11 rebounds while Anfernee Estacio and Sebastian Valencia combined for 15 points and 14 boards. Chucky Pacifico led Holy Child with eleven points while James Belicario added eight points and eight rebounds.

 In the games for third place, Ferndale International School of Zamboanga defeated Berkeley School of Baguio, 57-36 in the SBP division, while International School for Better Beginnings came from behind to beat Hua Siong College of Iloilo, 58-52, in the Passerelle division. The 32nd SBP Passerelle Tournament is also supported by Rain or Shine and Chris Sports. (FREEMAN)

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