History was on the side of the UAAP Media as the Chooks-to-Go Scribes captured the UAAP Season 81 Goodwill Games championship after escaping Table and Stats 116-114 in the Finals, Sunday evening at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Damie Cuntapay hit the big shots late as the San Beda Red Lion drained three straight baseline jumpers that put the sportswriters ahead in the final minute.
But defense truly wins championships as the Scribes bottled up sweet-shooting Rendell Senining in the closing seconds as NBTC’s Anton Altamirano secured the title-clinching steal as time expired.
J-Jay Alejandro was a true shot in the arm for UAAP Media with his 12-of-25 shooting from downtown to lead the charge with 48 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists to avenge his alma mater and this year’s third-placers National University.
Roy Cayanan continued to be the stabilizing force for the Scribes with 26 points, seven boards, four dimes, and two steals, while Cuntapay was rock solid down low with 20 points and 15 rebounds, alongside an assist and a block.
Altamirano was a do-it-all star for UAAP Media with eight points, nine assists, six rebounds, and two steals, as Marlon Borre had eight points and three boards in the win.
Also making significant contributions for the Scribes were Tiebreaker Times’ Arnold Cagang and Paolo Poblador, Tribune’s Bryan Ulanday, Spin.ph’s Christian Jacinto and Karlo Sacamos, Manila Bulletin’s Jonas Terrado, ESPN5’s AJ Bolando, Rappler’s Delfin Dioquino, and Manila Times’ Josef Ramos, whose layup in the second quarter was wildly celebrated by the raucous UAAP Media bench.
It was the first Goodwill Games championship for the UAAP Media after an immaculate 5-0 romp this season.
The sportswriters have also gone unbeaten through two years and extended their mastery of fierce rival Table and Stats to seven games now.
The Scribes also got huge boost from their fringe players in playing-team manager Mel Macasaquit of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas, Spin.ph’s Reuben Terrado, Randolph Leongson and Lance Agcaoili, ESPN5’s Yo Sarmenta, Tribune’s Joel Orellana, ABS-CBN Sports’ Mark Escarlote, Inquirer’s Bong Lozada and Denison Dalupang, Business Mirror’s Ramon Bonilla, Manila Times’ Jeremiah Sevilla.
Ken Bono powered Table and Stats in the runner-up finish with 37 points, 24 rebounds, seven assists, and four blocks, while Tonino Gonzaga chipped in 26 points and 10 boards.
UAAP commissioner Junel Baculi also suited up for Table and Stats, which was largely reinforced by FEU Team B players and was handled by Goodwill Games commissioner Pong Ducanes.
UAAP Media 116 –– Alejandro 48, Cayanan 26, Cuntapay 20, Altamirano 8, Borre 8, Cagang 2, Ulanday 2, Ramos 2, Jacinto 0, Terrado 0, Sacamos 0, Bolando 0, Poblador 0, Dioquino 0.
Table and Stats 114 — Bono 37, Gonzaga 26, Gloria 25, Senining 24, Sarmiento 2, Baculi 0, Flores 0, Paguila 0, Sta. Ana 0.
Quarterscores: 33-32, 53-61, 86-85, 116-114.