Calahat hits winning basket as Assumption Montessori dethrones La Salle-Lipa as NBTC Division 2 champ

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—There will be a new champion in the second staging of the NBTC Division 2.

Assumption Montessori ousted La Salle-Lipa as Division 2 champion after escaping with a 60-56 win in the first semifinal at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday night.

Romel Calahat hit the go-ahead shot with 11.9 seconds left as the Jaguars removed the crown from the Chevrons.

Assumption actually was on the verge of upsetting La Salle-Lipa in the first half, leading by 11, 35-24, after the first 20 minutes and even had a 14-point cushion.

But the Chevrons showed why they are the defending champs, limiting the Jaguars to only eight points in the third quarter and eventually held a 55-54 lead with 2:06 left.

Calahat then came to work, giving Assumption the lead again, 56-55, with 1:55 to go.

The team had a chance to stretch the lead as the quintet forced an offensive foul on Raphael Dimayuga, but Milo Janao missed two free throws with a minute and a half to go. Janao also muffed a layup attempt in the next offensive.

Aeron Lupac could only tie the game up as he made a split from the line with 31.3 seconds remaining.

Lawrence Palabrica almost turned the ball over as he slipped while driving to the cup, but he recovered and found Calahat for the layup that turned out to be the marginal basket.

Lupac tried to tie the game again, but he was blocked while going for the layup and Calahat sealed the win with two charities.

"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Panginoon dahil panalo kami at inaabot namin ang championship game," Calahat, who finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds, and one steal, told Dugout Philippines after the game. "Inakala ko po talo na kami. Di po kami nag-give up."

Rome Mutya also had a double-double for the Jaguars with 16 points and 15 rebounds with one assist and one block, while Janao top scored for them with 18 points.

Riley Javier had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals for the erstwhile champs.

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