The resilient Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles captured the under-18 crown in the Cebu Youth Basketball League after they squeaked past the University of San Carlos Team B Warriors, 74-69, on Sunday at the Magis Eagles Arena inside the Ateneo de Cebu campus in Canduman, Mandaue City.
The game was played on near-even terms for most of the match but in the end, the Magis Eagles just had enough grit to pull off the victory and claim the coveted championship.
Errol Pastor and Jeremy Nacua led the victorious Magis Eagles with 14 points each while Travis Mantua, Renzo Calumpang and Andre Chua chipped in 10 apiece, underscoring Ateneo de Cebu’s impressive show of balanced offense.
The win was made even more impressive by the fact that Ateneo de Cebu did not have two of their finest players in reigning Cesafi juniors MVP Jed Colonia and skipper Andrew Velasco, both of whom were in Manila for the NBTC All Star Games tryouts.
The Magis Eagles were ahead, 55-52, heading to the final frame but the Warriors stayed close and pulled within three, 64-67, after a putback by Adi Gaviola, 2:55 remaining in the game. However, Patrick Yu responded with a booming three-pointer and a putback of his own to push the lead to eight, 72-64, time down to 1:25.
USC kept on coming and sliced the deficit in half after a bucket by Steven Co and two free-throws from Carlo Ortega, 68-72. Ortega even had a shot to pull the
Warriors closer but split his charities to make it a one-possession game, 69-72, 32 ticks left. Calumpang and Pastor then sealed the win with makes from the charity stripe.