CEBUANO star Paul Desiderio, famous for his heroics with the UP Maroons and phrase “Atin ‘to,” showed nerves of steel as he sank two dagger 3s to help Titay CKB beat the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights 68-65 in the 22nd Araw ng Zamboaga Sibugay – 1st Gov. Ann K. Hofer Open Invitational Basketball Tournament in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. (Photo by Rommel C. Manlosa)
IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay – Paul Desiderio broke the hearts of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights as he led rousing comeback of Titay CKB for a heart-stopping 68-65 win at the end of the elimination round of the 22nd Araw Ng Zamboanga Sibugay – 1st Gov. Ann K. Hofer Open Invitational Basketball Tournament at the Capitol Hills Civic and Sports Center on Saturday evening.
Desiderio scored nine points in the fourth, including two triples that helped Titay erased a 17-point deficit at the start of the last quarter.
“Paul is a winner, and the players wanted this win badly. We made a lot of defensive lapses in the third, but we regrouped in the fourth. Although it was a sweet victory. We pulled this off because we played our game in the final period,” coach Michael Cenabre said.
The win put Titay CKB on the third place with 2-2 win-loss record, behind Alicia KSB Glass (4-0) and Zamboanga City Family Sardines (3-1). BRT Basilan ended up fourth with 1-3 card and the Knights were winless after four games.
Titay will play Basilan in the battle for third place while Alicia and Zamboanga City will vie for the championship.
The NCAA champs took off with nine unanswered points, it took a split free throw from CJ Catapusan at the 7:03 mark for Titay’s first point.
TITAY CKB coach Michael Cenabre (right) give instructions to Paul Desiderio (no.21), CJ Catapusan (no.9) and Fletcher Galvez (no.59). Titay pulled a thrilling 68-65 come-from-behind win for its second win in four games. (Photo by Rommel C. Manlosa)
The collegiate squad continued to take control of the game despite the efforts of Titay, which momentarily took over the lead 22-21 after a 7-0 run on the first five minutes of the second period.
Five lead changes and two deadlocks ensued on the next five minutes before the score settled at 35-31 in favor of the Knights at the halftime break.
An exchange of runs happened for nine minutes with Letran in control.
Then the worse happened starting at the final 54.5 mark of the third when the Knights dropped a telling 9-1 run that put the back-to-back NCAA champions to a 59-45 lead entering the final period.
Letran increased its lead to 17 following a triple at the 9:24 mark of the ultimate period.
At that point, Titay CKB got their acts together and mounted a daring 10-0 run to cut down the lead to 55-62.
A fast break lay-up by Desiderio and a conventional three-point play from Catapusan moved Titay within 60-63, still with 2:03 left in the game.
But the Knights were not ready to hand over the victory yet as they still clawed back with a basket at the 1:43 mark.
It was then that Desiderio took the matters into his hands as sank a back-to-back triple that put Titay CKB on top 66-65 with 11.6 seconds left in the game.
Titay then put up a defensive gem at the other end, as Catapusan grabbed the and sealed the win with two free throws with only 4.9 seconds remaining.
AND 1. CJ Catapusan (white jersey) completed a 3-point play that helped Titay CKB withstand the back-to-back NCAA Champions Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 68-65 in the 22nd Araw ng Zamboanga Sibugay – 1st Gov. Ann K. Hofer Open Invitational Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Rommel C. Manlosa)
“For three quarters we did not play our game. We played their (Letran) game, we played their pace. That’s why we struggled. But in the fourth we came to play our game and that’s how we won the game,” Desiderio told his teammates after the game.
Desiderio scored 21 points, his former UP teammate CJ Catapusan and Galman Macaraig had 10 points each for Titay CKB.
Kurt Spencer Reyson topscored for Letran with 23 points and Devone Ariar contributed 10 points.
Meanwhile, Alicia KSB Glass defeated the Zamboanga City Family Sardines, 97-75 in a non-bearing battle of unbeaten teams.
Alicia will again play Zamboanga City for the P500,000 champion cash prize later tonight. RCM
Titay CKB (68) – Desiderio 21, Catapusan 10, Macaraig 10, Macion 8, Poligrates 6, Managor 5, Olayon 4, Akpuro 3, Ligon 1.
CSJL (65) – Reyson 23, Ariar 12, Angeles 9, Javellonar 9, no. 11 7, no. 19 3, Bautista 2.
Quarter scores: 15-21; 31-35; 45-59; 68-65.
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