The University of St. La Salle Stingers bucked a third quarter rally from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Rams to register their fourth straight win, 82-72, and stay unbeaten in the NOPSSCEA collegiate basketball at the West Negros University Gym.
Marloni Gonzales scored 14 points in the game that saw the Stingers leading as much as 21 points in the second quarter en route to a 48-30 halftime lead.
Refusing to go down without giving the St. La Salle team a good fight, the Rams, led by Ritcer Santillan, flexed their muscles in the third quarter and staged a 20-15 run before finally losing steam as the Stingers held on for a 63-50 lead at the end of the quarter.
Aside from Gonzales, four more La Salle players scored in double digit as Kevin Ray Villafranca, Emman Badillo, Scott Salvacion, and Rogie Gelasan delivered 10 points each.
Rookie Rendell John Bernales chipped in 9 points for the Stingers, while Daryl Endona contributed 7 points.
Earlier, the Stingers beat defending titlist WNU Mustangs, 84-80, blew away LCC-Isabela, 122-51, and turned back Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, 93-82 to take the No. 1 spot in the double-round eliminations.
The Mustangs also beat the Eagles, 87-78, to secure the No. 2 slot with a 3-1 win-loss card, while the Agustinians are at third place with a 1-2 slate after its 78-61 win over UNO-R earlier.
Meanwhile in football, the La Sallians are one win away from clinching the NOPSSCEA crown as the Freddie Lazarito-montored Stingers beat once again the WNU Mustangs, 4-1, in their second encounter.
Striker Joshua Beloya McNally, who has been training with the Philippine team in Manila for the November Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, scored goals in the 35th, 59th, and 77th minute, while teammate Joah Cabus sealed the victory with a marker in the 80th minute.
Jalsor Soriano prevented a shutout for the WNU side with a goal in the 45th minute.
With three wins in this three-team double round-robin tournament, the St. La Salle squad only needs to get past defending champion UNO-R this Saturday to capture the NOPSSCEA title.*NAB
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