ERVIN Lopena made one clutch basket after another to bring Batch 2004 within a win away from the Division B title after they escaped with a 69-67 win over the 2002-Core Pacific in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals of the Sacred Heart Ateneo Alumni Basketball Athletic Association (SHAABAA) Cebu Landmasters Cup at the Ateneo de Cebu basketball courts along General Maxilom Avenue on Wednesday, November 6, 2019.
Batch 2004 was at the brink of defeat in regulation as they trailed 59-55 after 2002’s prolific guard Dave Ting completed a three-point play with 57 seconds to go. But Lopena made a triple to cut the lead down to one, 58-59. Ting answered with a layup to raise their lead to three, 61-58, but Lopena canned another three-pointer with just four seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, 2002 surged ahead, 67-61, but the resilient 2004 tied the game up at 67-all after a deuce from Kent Lim with 1:07 to go. Franco Te then came up with a steal and then, dished it off to Lopena who scored the game-winning bucket for 2004 with just eight seconds left in the game.
Lopena finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while Te had 14 points, seven boards, six assists and four steals.
Meanwhile, the 2012-Pioneer Auto Supply got the job done in spite nearly wasting away an 18-point lead, as they defeated the 2013-iPak/Roble Shipping, 82-78, to take a 1-0 series lead in Division C.
Batch 2012 led, 59-48, heading to the fourth but 2013 came back behind the hot shooting of Rendell Senining and Arc Gabriel Araw-Araw, who scored a triple to tie things up at 76-all, 1:18 left in the game.
However, free-throws by 2012’s big men Julius Cadavis and Mavii Suarez pushed them back in front, 80-76, with just 15 ticks left.
Suarez led 2012 with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Patrick Go had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Julius Cadavis and Dandan Tecson added 12 apiece.
The loss spoiled the incredible 39-point effort of 2013’s Rendell Senining.
Then, in Division A, the 1990-Bayfront Hotel put down the 1999-AutoLAB, 61-57. Former pro Joel Co scored 22 points and added eight rebounds and three assists while Dennis Que contributed 15 points, four boards, two dimes and three steals to propel 1990 to within a victory away from clinching the title.