A thunderous dunk from 6-foot-6 Fil-Am Jalen Green over 7-foot-2, 16-year-old Kai Sotto highlighted the action-packed third day of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM, Wednesday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Green’s one-handed sledgehammer was the crowning moment of FilAm Sports USA’s emphatic 90-67 victory over the Ateneo-Quezon City Blue Eaglets in the Supreme 16 phase of the tournament.
With the win, the US team advances to the Fantastic 8 and inches closer to its goal of winning the national championship for high school.
The 17-year-old Green got the better of the Blue Eaglets’ towering teen early in the second quarter, as he drove baseline, met his defender at the rim, and delivered the vicious slam. He finished with a game-high 31 points and collected six rebounds, nine assists, and three steals.
“I thought we played really well. We came out with energy. We didn’t have that in the first two games,” Green said.
Aside from Green, forward Kai Ballungay also showcased his hops to end up with 16 points and nine boards. FilAm Sports shot 45 percent from the field while also doing damage at the defensive end, forcing Ateneo into 28 turnovers.
“We’re glad to have at least one [win] under our belt against Metro Manila teams,” beamed FilAm Sports coach Bong Ulep. “We already know coming here that they’re the teams to beat in the tournament, so we’re just glad the guys started to play together.
“We came out and actually played hard from the jump. We played defense. We held them to [67 points]. We were playing together and offense was flowing well,” Green added, as he and his team led by as much as 32 points in the lopsided contest.
USA now awaits the winner between San Beda-Manila and Southern Philippine Colleges-Cagayan de Oro to determine their match-up for the Fantastic 8.
Meanwhile, Sotto did all he could with 24 points and eight rebounds. Forthsky Padrigao put up eight points, six boards, and six dimes, but was also unfortunately responsible for eight turnovers. Ateneo eventually bowed out of the competition.
On the other hand, FEU-Manila got the better of NCAA champs Mapua-Manila, 67-58, to also advance to the next round. RJ Abarrientos led a balanced attack for the Baby Tamaraws with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Completing the Fantastic 8 class are the San Beda Red Cubs-Manila, who cruised through a 99-56 win over Southern Philppine Colleges-Cagayan De Oro.
Zachary Estacio top-scored 16 points in the victory, while Justine Sanchez tallied a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Pacing the squad out of Cagayan de Oro is Vance Caterbas, who had 21 markers built on eight freebies.
In the Supreme 16 of Division 2, Pampanga’s St. Agustine Institute of Pampanga walloped the Zamboanga Del Sur National HS-Pagadian 83-47; while the St. Mary’s College of Tagum blasted the Dolores National HS-Eastern Samar with a 75-42 decision.
Topping the event in Division 2 was a thrilling come-from-behind 68-66 win by Holy Trinity College-General Santos of AusPinoy – Australia. Ednor Akad poured in 28 of his 29 points all in the second half as Gen San squad had to overcome a 16-point deficit.
The week-long tourney is still free of admission, with fans needing just a valid ID to enter SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The tournament is presented Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, Molten, and presented by 5Plus and Lighthouse Events