Beats CKSC in Game 1 of TL Aspirants Finals
In the series opener at the CKSC Gym Saturday morning (Feb. 11), Xavier School registered a hard-earned 85-77 victory over the erstwhile unbeaten CKSC squad.
The Golden Stallions gave up the game's first point then scored the next six to gain an early lead. The Blue Dragons roared right back to deadlock the score, 15-all, at the end of the first quarter.
Two more deadlocks occurred in the second quarter (25-25, 27-27) before hardworking Tyler Tio and Rylle Tee helped propel XS to a 38-31 halftime lead.
Tio opened the second half with a twinner as the Gold and Blue stretched its lead to nine, 40-31. However, Fran Yu singlehandedly scored eight consecutive points, including a pair of threes, as CKSC came within one, 40-39. It was part of a 15-1 run that saw the Blue Dragons jumped to a 46-41 advantage.
CKSC still held a five-point edge (51-46) - its biggest in the game - before XS came right back to equalize at 52-all, 54-all and 56-all, the last on a pair of Tio free throws to conclude the third quarter.
An exchange of baskets resulted in the seventh and
final deadlock, 58-all, before XS, which dropped a horrendous 103-62
decision to CKSC during the elimination round, detonated a 12-2
bomb to go ahead by 10, 70-60, at the 6:19 mark behind six points
by Mitchell Kyle Ong, four freebies by Tio and a three-pointer from
the left corner by Rendell Joseph Lee, a younger brother of Xavier
School and De La Salle University product Rejan Lee.
CKSC came within four points, 74-70, at the 3:52 mark. However, Tio, who reminds one of a young Jett Manuel with his strong slashing plays, hit two more foul shots at the 1:45 mark for an 80-72 XS lead.
Ong connected on a trey on an assists from Tio as XS pulled away, 83-75, time down to 1:13. Lee made another jumper, 85-77, with 19 ticks remaining to finalize the count.
Tio knocked in 31 points for Xavier School, including 23 in the second half. Ong added 26 markers and Lee contributed eight for coach John Sy's charges.
Yu wound up with 28 points for CKSC. Gallego collected 23 scores for the Blue Dragons, who seek to extend the Finals to a third and deciding match with a victory on Feb. 14.
Should a third game be necessary, it would be played on Feb. 16 (Thu, 5:30 p.m.), also at the Uno HS Gym.
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