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Sacred Heart claims NBTC crown after beating San Beda

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--The best high school team hails from the south.

Cebu-based Sacred Heart Magis Eagles rallied to beat Taytay-based San Beda Red Cubs, 82-78, in the NBTC championship game at the Meralco Gym.

The Magis Eagles completed a comeback from 16 points down and a late 11-point deficit to clinch the title from the Red Cubs, who lost key players down the stretch.

Behind Marc Diputado, San Beda opened the final on an 18-2 run.

Diputado, however, injured his right knee when he crashed to the press box after a hard foul in the second quarter.

Sacred Heart then mounted a comeback to take a 36-35 lead later in the period.

The Red Cubs sizzled anew and took a 55-44 advantage in the third quarter.

But the Magis Eagles' frontline led by Josh Sinclair, Jan-Jan Jaboneta, and Zachy Huang caught fire in the fourth quarter, especially after Nico Abatayo fouled out, and built the title-clinching run in the period. They outscored the Red Cubs, 31-19, in the quarter.

Jaboneta, who sizzled from long range late in the game, scored 27 points in 27 minutes along with seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. Eighteen of his points came in the second half. His heroics earned him the Finals MVP honor.

Sinclair, who was earlier named tournament MVP, added 15 points and 17 rebounds. Huang contributed 14 markers and eight boards.

Andrei Caracut and Norish Decapia led San Beda with 17 points each.

Box Scores:

Sacred Heart 82-Jaboneta 27, Sinclair 15, Huang 14, Longa 7, Araw-Araw 5, Mayol 4, Colonia 4, Nacua 4, Co 2, Mantua 0

San Beda 78-Caracut 17, Decapia 17, Abatayo 12, Diputado 11, Furaque 8, Bordeos 8, Framil 3, Abuhijeh 2, Geralao 0, Apolto 0

Quarterscores: 18-21, 38-42, 51-59, 82-78