THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) Men’s Basketball Team breezed past the College of Nursing (Nursing), 70-54, and repulsed the Graduate School (Grad School), 63-59, to boost its playoff bid in this year’s Thomasian Goodwill Games elimination round held last week at the P. Noval Gym.
AB’s Paul Lopez and team captain Giuseppe Punzalan racked up 24 and 17 points, respectively, against Nursing to usher the Dapitan-based squad to its first win of the season.
AB capitalized on a sloppy ball-handling from Nursing who gave away the ball six times in the final period. AB tallied 27 points in the fourth quarter, logging its highest scoring quarter this season, 20 of which came from the shaded area.
Nursing, on the other hand, shot bricks from beyond, hitting just one out of its nine three-point attempts. The two squads had a neck-and-neck battle in the first, second, and third quarter, 17-17, 28-33, and 43-44, but AB pulled away early in the third quarter to cruise past the Nursing squad.
Despite the uneasy state of match, AB regained its confidence during the last quarter.
“Nung fourth quarter, na-gain na namin ‘yung confidence na hinahanap namin buong game and lahat po kami pumutok nung fourth quarter so ayun, natambakan namin ‘yung Nursing,” Lopez said.
In its second game in a week, AB started slow in a thrilling match against Grad School, but found a solid offensive footing in the crunch time to seal its second straight victory.
Punzalan led all scorers with 15 points, while Joshua Nacua chipped in 10 markers, and Thomas Gubaton added eight points and two rebounds.
AB found themselves down by two possessions at the start of the payoff period, but Gubaton and Nacua forced themselves inside and hit back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to one, 43-44.
Momentum was on the side for the men in blue as Punzalan and Lopez led the charge inside, ushering the score 49-44, with 3:37 minutes left in the last quarter.
John Mervin Torres and Christian Roxas of Grad School tried to close the gap, putting up points for their team, 54-47.
Grad School buried two threes in the final two minutes of play, threatening to steal the game at 53-54.
Punzalan answered with his own lay-up and Gubaton delivered the telling blow with a fastbreak layup. Grad School squeezed in another three-pointer, but AB’s two-possession lead with less than 24 seconds remaining in the game closed the deal. F DIGAY, KRYSTAL GAYLE R. and DINO, MARIA EDEN T.