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Blue Dragons in fiery return to the finals

Chiang Kai Shek College produced a couple of scoring spurts in the third period and blasted NCAA champion Mapua, 92-78, to book a return trip to the final of the 5th Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) MEC Networks Cup Saturday at the SGS gym in Quezon City.

After squandering a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, the CKSC Blue Dragons exploded for 29 points in the third through the hot hands of John Galinato, Donn Lim and Jonas Tibayan while holding the Red Robins to just 13 points to turn what was expected to be a close contest into a rout.

Making up for a so-so showing in the first two quarters that saw the Red Robins grabbed a 56-45 halftime lead, Galinato scattered 20 points, including a triple that helped spark the team’s early salvo in the third.

As if it was a cue, Tibayan joined the fray, highlighting another backbreaking run with back-to-back inside plays to push Chiang Kai Shek to a 74-59 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play.

The Red Robins tried to make a run of their own but the Blue Dragons – out to become the first back-to-back champion squad – were there to frustrate them.

Standing Chiang Kai Shek’s back-to-back bid in the tournament also sponsored by Hapee Toothpate, Freego, Dickies Underwear, Ironcorn Builders, Blackwater, Poly Gloss Automotive Polyurethane System and Ché Lu Bar & Grill was Adamson.

The Baby Falcons showed why they are the hottest team in the UAAP – they completed a seven-game sweep of the elims – by turning back La Salle Greenhills, 83-77.

Through the hot shooting of Troy Mallilin, the Greenies rallied from a 24-point deficit in the third quarter to close in at 81-77.

But rookie Florencio Serrano came through with a tough basket to douse cold water on the Greenies’ comeback bid.

Serrano led four Adamson players in double figures with 17 points aside from grabbing 8 boards. Mallilin paced the La Salle with a double-double showing of 26 points and 17 boards.

The champion team in the tournament also backed by Mighty Sports, Choi Garden, Hanabishi, Frabelle Hotdogs, Davies Paints, Molten, and Philippine Airlines gets the top purse of P50,000.

Interestingly, both Chiang Kai Shek College and Adamson are being handled by Goldwin Monteverde.

They are battling for the title at presstime with Monteverde being reduced to a mere spectator after allowing his assistants to call the shots.