Solid San Juan completed an epic come-from-behind win from 11 points down to stun heavy favorite Octagon, 77-71, and claim the Metro League 13-and-under boys basketball tournament championship Sunday morning at the San Juan Gym.
Starting at a 49-60 deficit early in the payoff period, the determined La Salle Greenhills-backed squad launched a blistering 22-9 blast capped off by a Zio Hizon transition layup to snatch the driver seat at 71-69 with only 2:01 to spare.
Buoyed by a wild homecrowd, San Juan, fully supported by Mayor Francis Zamora and Councilor Paul Artadi, just would not be denied from thereon as it even pounded Octagon with a 6-2 closeout highlighted by a monster triple by Janeil Peralta and Hizon’s freebie anew to seal the win for the 13U crown of the M-League boys tourney that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with Barangay 143 as league
Hizon finished with 10 points, six rebounds and two assists while Michael Zion Cortez, son of Blackwater Elite PBA player Mike, and Peralta added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Bryan Andrei Hachuela was also instrumental with 14 points, seven boards and four blocks in San Juan’s breakthrough championship in the M-League for 13-and-under cagers also bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation as major sponsors.
Hachuela, who was hailed as Best Player of the Game in seven games this season, inclusive of the Fibnals, logged in averages of 12.0 points and 9.8 rebounds for San Juan in this championship run of theirs, making his choice as tournament MVP a no-brainer.
The classic comeback win of San Juan thus punctuated its winning run from the quarterfinals up to the championship against outright finalist Octagon.
Octagon had its expected championship celebration foiled after having a month-long rest when it booked an outright ticket to the Finals as the top seed in the eliminations of this M-League which also has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, PLDT as official internet service provider and Manila Bulletin as media partner.
The monstrous double-double output of Miguel Geof Lopez who pumped in 15 points and 17 thus went down the drain in the AMA Online Education-backed Octagon squad’s loss.
Romeo Ebdane III also posted a 15-marker, 10-board double-double of his own but they also proved insufficient for Octagon, which finished runner-up in this M-League tourney that is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.
Meanwhile, Hachuela was joined by Kyn Meneses Vicente (Octagon), Manuel Dabao (Muntinlupa), Vince Richard Hagos (Caloocan) and Neil Joaquin Abequibal (Makati) in the Mythical Five. (JBU)
Solid San Juan 77 – Hachuela 14, Cortez 11, Z. Hizon 10, Peralta 10, Gomez 8, Muyuela 7, Jugo 6, Romero 4, Atienza 4, Villavicencio 3, Maravilla 0, Natividad 0, J. Hizon 0, Alian 0, Torres 0.
Octagon 71 – Lopez 15, Ebdane 15, Arejola 9, Valdeavilla 8, Prado 4, Galindez 3, Manalad 3, Kua 3, Maneja 2, Sison 2, Herrera 2, Padolina 2, Tan 2, Vicente 1, Timbol 0.
Quarterscores: 25-18, 38-34, 58-49, 77-71