NCRAA NCRAA back-to-back champion Immaculada Concepcion College Blue Hawks celebrate. Photo by Robert Andaya

Immaculada Concepcion College is back-to-back NCRAA cage champion

May 19, 2024 Robert Andaya 209 views
NCRAA Finals MVP Tutoy Ramirez receives his trophy from NCRAA General Manager Buddy Encanado.
De La Salle University-Dasmariñas: Firstcrunner-upm

IMMACULADA Concepcion College crowned itself as the back-to-back champion of the National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA).

The Blue Hawks displayed the heart of a champion in a tensely-fought battle against De La Salle University-Dasmariñas to secure a 65-62 win and retain the title in the 30th NCRAA men’s basketball tournament before a wildly-cheering crowd at the Imus Sports Center in Imus, Cavite.

Flashing the form that enabled them to win the championship last year, the Blue Hawks turned to the high-scoring trio of Jared Vento, Alfred Flores and Tutoy Ramirez to finish off the Patriots in the third and deciding game.

ICC wrapped up the best-of-three title showdown, 2-1.

The Blue Hawks took the opener, 87-79, but the Patriots took the second game, 109-100, to send the series into a Game 3.

Vento stood at the helm of the victory for the Blue Hawks as he finished with a double-double with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 15 rebounds and two blocks in 37 minutes of action.

Not to be outdone, Flores added 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals and Ramirez had another near triple-double of 14 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and three steals for the Caloocan-based Blue Hawks of ICC president Marco Agana and coach Ogie Gumatay.

“Our team, ICC, did very well. Talagang pinag-hirapan nila na mag-champion kaya masaya ang lahat sa amin mula sa mga students hanggang sa mga school officials,” said Agana.

Added Gumatay: “Our players deserve to win the title again. They worked very hard, lalo na magaling talaga ang La Salle. Sobrang respeto ko sa kanila from 9-10 players until sa finals hindi sila bumigay.”

NCRAA general manager Buddy Encarnado had good words for both teams.

“Before anything else. I want to congratulate both teams, ICC and La Salle-Dasmariñas. ICC deserved the championship, but congratulations din to La Salle. They have only nine or eight players. Since the end of the elimination, they are undermanned. They were never outfought and they almost beat our defending champion. To the players and head coach and your sports director Gerry Sergio. I have the highest respect.

You have earned my respect,” said Encarnado in his short message before the awarding ceremony.

Rogelio Calagos led the losing stand of the Dasmariñas-based Patriots with 21 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals in almost 37 minutes of play.

The Patriots of coach Tito Reyes also got 11 points each from Ronroy Bunda, Gio Santiago and PJ Delos Santos.

Delos Santos also had 13 rebounds and Bunda had 11 rebounds.

JL Rasonable chipped in with seven points and 16 rebounds.

With the Blue Hawks leading 65-58 with still 1:55 left, Bunda converting the four-point play on a foul by Joshua Monares to narrow the deficit to three, 62-65 with 1:39 remaining.

Both teams missed their shots, and the Blue Hawks committed a turnover, resulting in a 24-second shot clock violation.

But Calagos and Paul Gadin failed to convert their shots and Delos Santos missed both his free throws with 17.9 seconds left.

Vento also missed two free throws, and Flores tapped the rebound to Monares, who was fouled by Bunda with 11 seconds left. Monares also missed his free throws and Bunda missed a chance to tie the game when his three-pointer clanked out.

The scores:

ICC (65) — Vento 17, Flores 16, Ramirez 14, Monares 6, Seniedo 4, Gadin 4, Lopez 4.
DLSU-Dasmariñas (62) — Calagos 21, Bunda 11, Santiago 11, Delos Santos 11, Rasonable 7, Roxas 1, De Castro 0, Puda 0.
Quarterscores: 8-15, 29-32, 51-49, 65-62.

The results:

Game 1– ICC 87, DLSU-Dasmariñas 79.
Game 2 — DLSU-Dasmariñas 109, ICC 100.
Game 3– ICC 65, DLSU-Dasmariñas 62
(ICC wins series, 2-1).