Centro Escolar University inched closer to winning an NCRAA men’s basketball tournament crown after downing Philippine Merchant Marine School, 63-59, at the start of their title series at the Olivarez College gym.
The Scorpions went to main man Rich Guinitaran and Keanu Caballero to win the opener of their best-of-three title series.
CEU can wrap things up with a win on Wednesday.
Guinitaran, the high-scoring forward, led the way with 26 points to lead the charge for the Scorpions, who can win an NCRAA title right on their debut season.
Caballero, who committed an ill-advised flagrant foul earlier on Kurt Sunga, nearly cost the game for the Scorpions.
His bone head move resulted to three of four charity shots for the Mariners, but the CEU guard made up for that with a nifty lay up with 8.5 seconds left in the match, a marginal basket that sent the Scorpions within striking distance of winning the championship.
The Scorpions were held without a field goal in a four-minute stretch in the fourth period, but Guinitaran and Caballero responded with crucial baskets to keep the Mariners at bay.
Earlier, CEU women’s basketball team made it a twin kill after outlasting De La Salle-Dasmariñas, 68-64.