THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) Women’s Basketball Team drew the first blood against the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD), 74-48, opening their campaign in the Thomasian Goodwill Games with victory.
AB started the ballgame with intensity as Koleen Salita dropped 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter, leaving CFAD struggling to shoot a basket. Lara Quicho and Alaina Dimdam’s markers further widened the gap to 22, ending the frame at 32-10.
The first minutes of the second quarter saw AB’s performance waning with CFAD capitalizing on the former’s fouls and turnovers. But with AB leading the first half of the tourney with 46-22, CFAD’s hope for a comeback diminished as the game neared its end.
AB kept its momentum in the third and fourth quarter, shrugging off the threats posed by Christine Pamela Barcinas’ tough defensive play and Ann Margaret De Nys’ forceful baskets, 60-26 and 74-48.
Leading AB was Salita, accompanied by Quicho and Dimdam with 16 and 18 points, respectively.
Team captain Rica Young said the addition of shooters in the team would play as an advantage for AB who last had its championship four years ago. “Dati kasi parang merong specific people na inaasahan. Ngayon talaga equal ‘yung teamwork, equal ‘yung effort para sa team.”
“Hindi sa nagba-brag pero [kahit] na-crush nga namin sila, hindi naman namin gaanong na-execute kung ano talaga kami. So sana this game should serve as warm-up namin sa following games,” she added.
On the other hand, AB Men’s Basketball Team suffered their first defeat in the season against the highly-physical College of Rehabilitation Sciences, 63-75.
CRS’ powerhouse Roel Christian Marcial, Jude Gabriel Pumaren, and Miguel Carlo Aytona gave most of the damage to AB, unleashing 18, 17, and 16 points, respectively.
AB had a hard time penetrating CRS’ tight defense as both teams went neck-and-neck in the first quarter. But CRS’ aggressive plays in the paint, mostly coming from Marcial, capped the first frame victory for the boys in blue and yellow, 16-20.
AB managed to cut the deficit to three through Guiseppe Punzalan’s and John Patrick Vibandor’s attacks but the team’s numerous turnovers and lack of rebounds played an advantage to CRS, ending the second canto with 34-37.
The duo of Vibandor and Punzalan fired treys and kept the hopes of AB alive in the third quarter. However, they were no match to Pumaren and Aytona of CRS who both aced at mid-range shooting.
With the defense of CRS still tight, AB failed to snatch the lead in the third quarter, 50-54.
AB’s performance started to crumble in the fourth quarter with only Punzalan converting baskets through his charities. CRS executed a 6-0 run through the combined efforts of Marcial and Jake Tomilloso, dismissing any hope of a comeback for AB.
Punzalan finished with game-high 24 points, while Vibandor and Thomas Gubaton dropped 9 and 8 points, respectively.
AB team captain Justin Cabanban said AB and CRS were on the same level of competitiveness but the former fell short because of miscommunication and foul trouble.
“The game was a winnable one. Even if they have individually talented players, our team is composed by players who [hustle] and are willing to sacrifice their bodies for the game,” Cabanban said, noting the team would improve their communication to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
“The present team has the basketball knowledge and the raw talent that can be developed to produce another championship team for this year and the next three years,” he added.
The women’s team will go against the College of Nursing on Feb. 29 at 1 pm, while the men’s team will try to notch their first win against the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery on March 3 at 8 am. Both games will be held at the P. Noval Court. F GAEA KATREENA C. CABICO