Title favorite Holy Child College of Davao Red Eagles punched a ticket to the semifinals of the SM National Basketball Training Center (SM-NBTC) Davao Qualifiers after defeating a hard-fighting Lamb of God SPED Academy Saints 89-83 at the close of the eliminations on Wednesday at the University of Mindanao Matina Gymnasium.
The Saints held their own against the rampaging Eagles engaging the powerhouse squad that recently won the DAVRAA title to a nip and tuck affair through all quarters, keeping the distance as close as three points and no more than five.
But it was the poise that mattered when the game was on the line as the experienced Red Eagles forced the Saints to a spate of turnovers in the final minute. Marvin Samonte sank a huge three-pointer and a free throw in the dying seconds to seal the win for Holy Child and booked a spot to the Final Four.
The Red Eagles’ main man Vince Petdeo Cuajao did not disappoint as he paced the Jacinto-based squad with 16 points. Samonte matched Cuajao’s output as the duo combined with Joshua Reyes, who also exploded for 14, in a three-pronged scoring machine that netted 46 markers. Miguelito Manuel, who will also suit up for the Davao Region’s Palarong Pambansa squad this year, and Kane Montero carried the fight for the Saints with 20 points each.
Holy Child Red Eagles will take on the Davao Jones Spunkies in the Semis while Ford Academy will battle the Ateneo de Davao Blue Knights in the other semis tussle. The SM-NBTC semi-final games will be played on Friday at the UM Matina Gymnasium.
The year started well for the Red Eagles Basketball team beginning with their victory in the 3×3 U18 Nationals back in January, followed by back to back wins in the DAVRAA and Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg this month.