Hope Christian stuns San Beda to win MMBL crown
MANILA, Philippines – Hope Christian High School pulled an upset over defending champions San Beda Red Cubs, 93-87, to win the SeaOil Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL) Division One championship last Sunday at the San Beda Gym.
Clint Doliguez, in an MVP performance, scored 46 points, while center John Apacible added 11 markers.
San Beda, playing without center Arvin Tolentino, executed well behind the pinpoint passing of Axel Iñigo, while Andrei Caracut dazzled with his three-point shooting. Evan Faruque also caused Hope Christian trouble inside the post.
But Doliguez proved to be a thorn on the Red Cubs’ side as he repeatedly beat his man off the dribble, drove for coast-to-coast lay-ups, or hit a variety of jumpers that left San Beda coach Britt Reroma wondering how to stop the 6-3 forward.
Despite their good execution, San Beda was never able to pull away as Hope Christian always responded with a run of their own.
Hope Christian finally broke through in the final quarter when Wally Villanueva fired a jumper to give his team their first lead of the game, 76-75.
After the Red Cubs’ Radge Tongco and Caracut scored to put the home team on top, 82-80, Villanueva connected on a three-pointer to give Hope Christian the lead for good, 83-82.
Doliguez hit the dagger when he fired a three-pointer from 30 feet away to beat the shot clock buzzer, giving his team an 86-82 lead with only 45 seconds to go.
The star forward also impressed on the defensive end after blocking a drive by Caracut and bringing down the rebound. Doliguez was steady at the free throw line in crunch time, nailing four free throws to keep the Red Cubs away.
“It’s a huge win for us and our school,” said Hope Christian head coach Steve Tiu. “We are never talked about when it comes to high school basketball. We are hoping that this turns our program around.”
Red Cubs coach Reroma was gracious in defeat.
“It’s a tough loss, lalo na dito sa homecourt namin. But that’s sports for you. Wala kaming sagot kay Doliguez,” he said.
The loss in the Division One championship capped a difficult day for San Beda as the traditional powerhouses came up empty in three trips to the finals of the different SeaOil MMBL divisions.
The Red Cubs also lost to National University in the Division Four finals and to Colegio de San Benildo in the Division Three finals.
“It’s not a good day for San Beda, but we always bounce back,” Reroma said.