La Trinidad, Benguet – Chosen One whipped a choking full court press in the third canto that would remain a mystery for Isaac during the rest of the game to take home the second Strawberry Cup’s Bracket D crown last Sunday, May 30, 2015, at the La Trinidad Municipal Gymnasium.
Engaged in a very tight game that involved nine ties and nine lead changes, Chosen One changed their defense midway through the third and began employing a full court press that cannot be countered by Isaac. This strategy would eventually lead them to an 82-78 victory to take home the crown and frustrate Isaac for the third time.
Isaac was 26-36 with 57 seconds left in the second quarter when they made a running attack to gain the upperhand. It started when Oliver Collado got an assist from Alex Batanes to convert a fastbreak lay-up and Jemar De Guzman canned a triple to inch closer at halftime, 31-36. Collado and De Guzman proceeded to lead Isaac in engineering a 23-13 fastbreak attack to take the lead, 54-51, at the 2:11 mark of the third forcing Chosen One to call for time. Collado scored five including a three-point play while De Guzman added four free throws.
When play resumed, the Chosen Ones decided to slow the game by pressing Isaac’s ball carrier right upon inbound. It worked beautifully as Isaac began committing forced turnovers that were becoming counter fastbreak attacks on the other end. They went to close the third on a 9-6 run and tie the game, 58-all. They took over the driver’s seat at the start of the fourth with lay-ups by Heinji Laoyan and Nestor Cuilan, 62-58.
Isaac then made their last stand. All five men on the floor, Batanes, De Guzman, Joseph Padalla, Jr., Jun Eslao, and Denmark Yatar, contributed at least a point in a 9-1 run to retake the lead, 67-63, again forcing Chosen One to burn a timeout.
When play resumed, Joshua Beray got a critical play in their favor. He drove to the basket fishing for Batanes’ fifth and last foul. He made one of his freethrows, 64-67, time down to 4:20. This would shift the momentum to their side for good. Peter Ymana and Nestor Ayan would make a freethrow each, Beray putback his own miss, and Ymana stole the ball twice and converted a coast to coast lay-ups each time while blanking Isaac to retake the lead for good, 72-67, time down to 3:01.
Yatar converted a triple from top and a lay-up while De Guzman also drained a trey from top to counter the drive of Cuilan and a trey by Laoyan, 79-77, Chosen One still on top with 1:05 to go. Both teams felt the nerves as they had back to back turnovers. Chosen One would commit a three second violation in the first play while Isaac would throw away the ball on a bad pass in the ensuing play, time down to 21 seconds forcing them to intentionally send Chosen One to the line.
Ymana canned three of four freethrows while Yatar missed two freebies and Padalla clanked a three to end the game.
Chosen One 82: Giovanni Cuilan 20, Ymana 19, Laoyan 13, Beray 13, Nestor Cuilan 6, Nestor Ayan 5, Nestor Rivera 4, Patrick Habon 2, Gilbert Martinez, Sonny Ayan.
Isaac 78: Denmark Yatar 22, Jemar De Guzman 15, Oliver Collado 11, Jun Eslao 9, Alex Batanes 7, Jake Camte 7, Joseph Padalla, Jr., 3, Alfred Collado 2, Rommel Basali, Jr. 2, Isaac Basali, Charlie Andawey, Mark Pokya, Otaner Sanchez, Roland Bugarin.
Quarterscores: 18-12, 36-31, 58-all, 82-78. 3 point shots made: G. Cuilan 2, Laoyan 2, Yatar 3, De Guzman 2, Camte 1, Padalla 1. Freethrows made: Ymana 5, Laoyan 3, N. Ayan 3, G. Cuilan 2, N. Cuilan 2, Beray 1, De Guzman 5, Yatar 5, Basali, Jr. 2, Batanes 1, Collado 1, Eslao 1.