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Xavier boys value defense, key to 2016-17 PAYA victory

2016-17 PAYA Champion Xavier School Team | contributed photo

2016-17 PAYA Champion Xavier School Team | contributed photo

By Brian Yalung

Xavier School showed why defense pays. And the reward was becoming the 2016-17 2016-2017 PAYA champions following a come-from-behind win over La Salle Greenhills, 58-54 last March 11, 2017.

It was an epic match which saw La Salle dictating the game up to the final five minutes. The Stallions were down by 9 with more than two minutes left in the game. It took the efforts of Mariuz Guevarra, Gavin Uy and Kirby Ang to trim down the deficit using their vaunted pressing defense.

Gavin Uy converted a three-pointer and then stole off a La Salle inbound to trim the deficit to 46-50. Xavier forced LSGH to a turnover and set up Guevarra for a shot and making it 48-50.

La Salle sued for time but Xavier stole the ball once more. Guevarra made another shot to knot the game at 50-all. Kirby Ang would score the marginal points to hand Xavier the lead, 52-50.

LSGH managed to score four straight points afterward and retake the lead 54-52.

In the ensuing play, Uy made a crucial rebound off a miss and drew a foul. He made two free throws to tie the game.

The nine-year-old followed that up with another steal, score on a layup and give Xavier a two-point cushion. 56-54. Nuelle Yu iced the game with two free throws after a LSGH foul for the final count.

Other members of the Xavier champion team included Irus Chua, Bric Dizon, Enosh Esplanada, Kyle Sio, Macray Lee, Hans Yu Chua, Skye Tan, Jeremy Tan, Tyler Lim and Alfred Balisi.

The young Stallions were handled by head coach Jojo Imutan and assistant coach Daniel Donato. John Edwin Sy is the team’s basketball director.