CA dethrones Philo, regains Athena Cup men’s basketball title

photo by JANINE C. PEREA
photo by JANINE C. PEREA

COMMUNICATION ARTS (CA) rolled past defending champions Philosophy, 90-72, to reclaim the title it lost to the same team a year ago in a heated finals matchup last Feb. 22 at the P. Noval Court.

Nicko Bahia came up big with 21 points and six rebounds for CA. Two more CA players tallied double-digit scoring—Louisjeane Cruz dropped 18 points with five rebounds and Kiko Banal had 14 markers and four boards.

Philosophy’s marksman Jericho Abesamis tallied 21 points on a hot three-point shooting spree during the finals matchup. Philosophy was scorching beyond the arc as it converted 11 three pointers.

Abesamis sank two three-point baskets in the opening period, which gave his team its first and last taste of the lead at 7-2.

Fouls from Philosophy’s Adrian Nico Padilla and Austin Thomas Dingil rewarded CA’s Riggs Nerves and Kirk Peralta free throw shots for the only deadlock of the game at seven-all.

The defending champions forced fouls to slow down the game as CA’s transition offense was breaking down Philosophy’s defense. CA converted six free throw shots and grabbed the lead in the first quarter, 13-7.

Peralta controlled the shaded area in the second quarter. The defensive anchor corralled back-to-back offensive rebounds to help his team mount a double-digit lead, 29-19.

Philosophy’s Ronald Joseph Zipagan and Val Tagadar attempted to stop CA’s growing lead, but could not keep up with CA’s domination in the low block, ending the second quarter with 39-27.

As fast as the run-and-gun play of CA was the swelling of its lead in the second half of play. CA opened a commanding 18-point advantage just before the final period, 64-46.

CA found even more success on its transition offense as the frontcourt tandem of Banal and Bahia forced a 17-12 run in the payoff period, while Zipagan and Abesamis drained baskets to inch their team closer to CA with 3:20 remaining, 81-64.

Abesamis and JR Marcos managed to bury threes from the arc; however, Philosophy still fell to CA’s already insurmountable 17-point lead with less than 30 ticks remaining in the clock.

Nag-tune up kami at mas binilisan namin ang pacing namin sa second half. Dinaan namin sa fastbreaks at outlet passes para hindi na nila (Philosophy) magawa ‘yung tactic nila na nag-fo-foul. Sa [third] and [fourth] quarters talaga kami nagfocus,” CA men’s basketball team captain Julio Gabriel Sampedro said.

Meanwhile, Philosophy men’s basketball team captain Zipagan admitted they struggled to catch up with CA during the game. “Naniniwala naman ako na ginawa namin lahat, sadyang magagaling lang talaga sila, at halos lahat, sanay na sanay maglaro. Nahirapan kasi kaming maghabol kasi puro sila (CA) fastbreaks,” Zipagan said.

Philosophy eliminated CA in last year’s semifinal rubbermatch and went head-to-head with Sociology for the championship title last year. F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY

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