Hua Siong takes down St. Robert’s to clinch NBTC-Iloilo title

Hua Siong star Dave Bagatnan attempts a three against the tough St. Robert’s defense (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Hua Siong College of Iloilo Red Phoenix survived the tough and pesky St. Robert’s Panda Rockets, 87-79, in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) tournament finals Iloilo leg.

Playing with a chip on their shoulder after suffering a loss to the Panda Rockets in the eliminations, the Red Phoenix squad drew all their cards to win in the heated battle.

With Cedrick Manzano and Dave Bagatnan both in foul trouble, the Red Phoenix squad got a lift from Jessie Beker and gunner Maverick Puerto to match St. Robert’s firepower.

Trailing, the ILOPRISAA champs played with determination and disciplined basketball in the fourth as Bagatnan pounded his way inside to help regain the momentum.

Manzano then sank timely baskets to help the lead balloon to 10 with under five minutes left in the final frame.

Coach Vincent Conlu then deployed the finishing instructions that revolved around the hot hands of Bagatnan and Puerto that exposed the mismatches which they took advantage of.