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Rich Guinitaran drops 26 as CEU survives PMMS to take Game 1 of NCRAA Finals


The Centro Escolar University brushed off a late rally by the Philippine Merchant Marine School to take Game One of the 26th National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) Seniors Basketball Finals, 63-59, at the packed and noisy Olivarez College, Monday afternoon.

The multi-titled Scorpions also extended their perfect record to 10-0. They can wrap up another trophy this Wednesday at the Paco Arena.

Rich Guinitaran opened the fourth period with a basket that erected a 10-point CEU lead, 54-44. Suddenly, the Scorpions’ offense went sour, as they could not buy a field goal. The Mariners managed to close the gap to a point with 3:22 remaining, 56-57, after seven straight Bryan Hilario points, capped by three-point play.

Guinitaran, the NCRAA’s leading scorer and Most Valuable Player contender, came to his team’s rescue for the nth time and nailed back to back baskets to end their drought and create breathing space entering the final two minutes, 61-56.

Guinitaran powered the Scorpions with 26 points, six rebounds and a steal for good measure.

In another twist in the dramatic contest, Keanu Caballero was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul. Kurt Sunga took the three free throws to allow PMMS to threaten anew with 1:25 on the clock, 59-61.

With the ball remaining with the Mariners, Sunga bungled the possession by committing an offensive foul. Caballero would later redeem himself by driving through the defense for a layup with 8.5 ticks left and seal the deal.

Christian Uri provided support with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Hilario paced the three-time champion Mariners with 20 points in 37 minutes of action. Sunga was next with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists.

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The Scores:

CEU (63) – Guinitaran 26, Uri 10, Chan 8, Fuentes 7, Ke Caballero 4, Abastillas 4, Intic 3, Diaz 1, David 0.

PMMS (59) – Hilario 20, Sunga 12, Carvajal 10, Attas 9, Cabauatan 2, Briones 2, Palomares 2, Templo 2, Gabat 0.

Quarterscores: 20-14, 35-30, 52-44, 63-59.

Story from Servsports

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