The Mats College of Technology (MCT) Navigators just made the race for the next round interesting.
With their backs against the wall, the Navigators came up with a better composure to overcome Agro Industrial Foundation College of the Philippines (AIFCP) Sailors in a tightrope 75-71 thriller on Friday in the resumption of the Collegiate Sponsors League Escandor Cup held at the Davao City Recreation Center.
The hard-earned victory kept the Navigators’ hope in the competition alive with 2-3 card.
To make it to the quarterfinals, MCT has to win against Cor Jesu College (CJC) Red Lions in their last elimination game slated next week. The Navigators, however, appears to be confident after a back-to-back conquest against two powerhouse teams in bracket A.
Their performance against the Sailors was one for the books as it goes down as the most intense game in the competition so far.
The Navigators mounted a 10-point margin from the get-go and maintained the cushion until the third frame. But the next five-minutes from there toned differently.
Despite of losing its direction after their head coach Ondo Conda was ejected out of the playing court a 3:04 in the third quarter after committing two technical warnings, the Sailors opted for a full-court trap that forced the Navigators to give up four straight turnovers to trim the 10 point deficit to just two points, 63-65.
A see-saw affair then ensued but the Navigators displayed exceptional composure to seal their second-straight win.
“Nag relax mi sa depensa kaya naka habol sila. But nag stick lang gyud mi sa system,” MCT head coach Thommy Colladors said in an post-game interview.
Undersized MCT center Juanito Ibañez defied the odds and played his role to the hilt to claim the SPC-Mandarin player of the game with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Sailor Jong Labastida, on the other end, went all out with 17 points in a losing effort.
The tournament, presented by Presidential Adviser on Sports Glenn Y. Escandor and bankrolled by the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davies Paints, Max’s Fried Chicken, PTT Lubricants and SPC-Mandarin, will resume on Sunday, November 17.