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San Beda-Alabang survives Savio's upset bid to avoid City Hoops semis shutout

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—San Beda-Alabang's U17 squad repulsed an upset-minded Savio squad in overtime, 72-71, in their City Hoops semis showdown at the Jacinto Tiu Competition Court of Xavier School on Sunday.

Steve Dela Cruz nailed the go-ahead basket with 15.2 seconds in extra time as the Muntinlupa-based blew a nine-point lead but recovered in time to avoid the Caloocan dribblers' shocker shot.

San Beda-Alabang appeared to have broke out of a close game in the third quarter after opening a 43-34 lead with 2:49 left in the period.

But Savio slowly creeped back in the ballgame and eventually took the lead, 66-65, with 28 seconds left in regulation.

Dela Cruz had his first chance at stealing the win from Savio as he was fouled with 11.2 seconds left, but he only made one of two free throws even as Lenard Manalang missed his follow-up.

Nathaniel Lopez, who made a one-hander to complete Savio's fight back, had another chance to win it for his team, but his three at the buzzer rimmed out, eventually leading to the extra five minutes.

The Red Cubs surged ahead in the free basketball session, taking a 70-66 lead with less than four minutes to go.

But five straight points from Savio, a deuce from AJ Flores and a three-point play from Lopez pushed the team up front, 71-70, with less than a minute left.

In the next play, Dela Cruz barrels his way through for the layup plus a foul. He, however, missed the bonus charity, and Savio forced a turnover with 13.5 seconds left to get another crack at winning the game.

But Lopez failed to convert a three-pointer at the final buzzer, letting San Beda-Alabang escape.

The win prevented the Red Cubs from getting blanked in semis Sunday as their U13 counterparts got whipped by the San Sebastian Staglets, 68-83, in the U13 semis earlier Sunday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno