Saint Clare College of Caloocan earned its fourth consecutive Seniors Division championship after it defeated Enderun Colleges, 70-64, in Game Three of the 19th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities Finals at the Philippine Lam-An Sports Complex in Abad Santos Saturday morning.
Less than 24 hours after falling to the Titans in Game Two, 48-80, the Saints made sure they would not lose two in a row by controlling the game from start to finish.
Gunner Jan Dominic Formento and big man Mohamed Pare powered Saint Clare’s strong start as the halftime count represented their biggest lead, 39-23.
Still, the Titans continued to fight back behind a barrage of triples from Michael dela Cruz and Austin Veloso with dela Cruz’ fifth and final trey putting them at their closest entering the last three minutes, 62-63.
A free throw from Pare gave the Saints breathing room until Mark Joseph Nunez threatened for the last time via two free throws, 62-64.
Pare was clutch again as he received a Joshua Fontanilla assist for another field goal and the Titans threw the ball away with Clarence Tiquia stealing and leading to a Fontanilla basket to sew up the victory by the 10-second mark.
Pare played sans relief for 40 minutes for 18 points and 19 rebounds to get the nod as Most Valuable Player, the second foreign student-athlete to do the trick since Rodrigue Ebondo of Centro Escolar University in 2015.
Joining Pare in the Mythical Five were Fontanilla, dela Cruz, Nunez and Enderun’s Pierre Marie Kouakou while Coach Jinino Manansala was honored with his fifth Coach of the Year award.
Manansala matched the five championships of the legendary Loreto Tolentino Sr, who guided the University of Manila Hawks to five straight during the league’s first five seasons from 2001 to 2005 and the combined five of Egay Macaraya with San Sebastian-Cavite (2008-2009) and CEU (2013-2015). Manansala also has one NAASCU Juniors Championship with UM in 2011.
Saint Clare (70) – Pare 18, Fontanilla 10, Formento 10, Santos 9, Lopez 7, Penaredondo 5, Rojas 5, Manacho 4, Tiquia 2.
Enderun (64) – Dela Cruz 16, Veloso 14, Maagdenberg 12, Nunez 8, Wabo 7, Baclay 4, Kouakou 2, Tancioco 1, Sacundo 0, Daez 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14, 39-23, 53-42, 70-64.
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