INDANG, Cavite – Cavite State University came from behind to nip Bicol University 21-16 and capture the men’s Army 3×3 basketball championship on the last day of the Reserve Officer Training Corps Games Luzon eliminations at the Cavite State University Gymnasium here Saturday.
Down 5-12, the Cavite State U basketeers banked on a fiery 9-0 rally through the inside game of burly Hans Christian Alarcon and Matt Borja’s sniping to surge past their rivals and bag the gold in the competition organized by the Department of National Defense and Commission on Higher Education.
University of Cagayan Valley clobbered Northwestern University 21-11 for the men’s Air Force 3×3 title, while Tanauan Institute Inc. topped Philippine State College of Aeronautics 21-10 for the men’s Air Force 3×3 plum in the meet also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
All three schools will advance to the ROTC Games national finals scheduled late next month in Manila with the backing also of the Office of Sen. Francis Tolentino.
“Ang sabi ko sa mga bata na huwag mawalan ng pag-asa and to take it one point at a time. They kept their poise and that is why we were able to finish strong,” said CSU coach Jhunric Fucieran of the comeback win.
It was the second gold for the hometown team after EJ Orsolino bagged the gold in the men’s featherweight division of arnis in the sportsfest also supported by the Indang City government led by Perfecto Fidel.
“Naubusan kami ng hangin but my boys displayed a big fighting heart,” said Universidad ng Bikol coach Lyndon Bailon, adding that his boys barely had a week’s training before the meet, also backed by the Tagaytay City government led by Mayor and Philippine Olympic Committee government Bambol Tolentino.
Both teams entered the championship match in contrasting fashion, with CSU nipping Abra State Institute of Science and Technology 21-16 while Bicol University routed Southern Luzon State University 18-10 in the semifinals early in the morning.
The charges of coach Bailon appeared to be in better shape after the semis as they surged to a 12-5 spread behind the drives of slippery forward Austin Torres that had the home squad reeling.
But Alarcon and Borja combined in that 9-0 run to wrest the lead 15-12 with under three minutes to go before coming through with another 6-1 salvo, capped by Karl Vincent Masikap’s undergoal stab to put the game under wraps with still 41.3 seconds to go.