BLUE VS RED Ateneo, Holy Child book finals berths in NBTC Davao Qualifiers

AIRBORNE. Rommel Solivel (16) of Davao Jones Academy tries to block the shot of high-scoring Holy Child guard Vince Petdeo Cuajao in the two teams’ semifinals showdown in the NBTC Davao Qualifying Leg at the UM Matina Gym on Friday. Koii Canarias.

Rivals Ateneo de Davao University Blue Knights and Holy Child College of Davao Red Eagles will face off in the championship of the National Basketball Training Center (SM – NBTC) League Davao Qualifying Finals. 

The Blue Knights earned the first ticket to the finals after defusing a late rally by Ford Academy of the Arts 88-83.

Blue Knight’s captain Ion Angeles torched the hoops with 17 points to lead Ateneo to a 33-18 at the end of the first quarter. Ford tried to slow Ateneo’s shooting barrage by switching to man to man defense. Ateneo took this opportunity to rest their key players for the last half of the game. 

In the third quarter Raine Maga turned on his game and shoved Ford closer to just 4, 64-60. 

In the fourth quarter, Blue Knights co-captain Lance Carr suffered an injury that sent him out to the showers. Angeles, on the other hand, did not fail the Ateneo community by pouring in 9 more points to end the quarter. 

In the second semifinals, the Holy Child Red Eagles and Davao Jones Spunkies, whose rivalry dates back to the Davao City Athletics Association (DCAA) Meet basketball finals last year battled for the last finals berth with the Reds emerging victorious 113-97.

The Spunkies, the team to watch before the start of NBTC, came prepared to match the Red Eagles this time. In the first quarter Spunky’s John Dave Palero fired 8 points while putting the cuffs on Cayle Manlimos of the Red Eagles. 

Both teams battled fiercely to end the first quarter locked in a 22-22 standoff. 

Reds’ main man Vince Petdeo Cuajao was heavily guarded and committed three turnovers as the Spunkies turned the tide over to their side. 

Spunky’s Askiah John Echavia, who will play for Palarong Pambansa on April, turned on his game sinking in four straight triples to push Davao Jones to the lead  48-47 at the end of the first half. 

In the third quarter, the Red Eagles changed their phase, hustling up their defense and combining it with quick plays. The tired Jonians puzzled with the change, lost their defense to open up opportunities for the Red Eagles to score more. 

The Red Eagles wrapped up the third quarter 78-64. 

The Spunkies tried to close the gap by trapping but the Red Eagles did not bother and even piled up the scoring leaving the Spunkies behind by 24 points going into the last 3 minutes of the game. 

The Spunkies’ reliable Rommel Solivel fouled out in the last 2 minutes to dash their hopes cold.