MANILA, Philippines - Paolo Taha fired 19 points as St. Benilde toppled Technological Institute of the Phils., 86-76, to capture the first Engr. Demetrio Quirino Cup before an overflow crowd at the TIP gym in Manila recently.
Taha also snared seven rebounds and had one shotblock to likewise bag the MVP honors in the one-game, winner-take-all match. Taha also led the Mythical Five that included teammate Mark Romero, Jemuel Namocatcat, Gomez and Lyceum’s Guy Mbida, the lone foreign player to make it to the elite team.
Namocatcat and Carlo Gomez scored 20 points apiece for TIP while Lyceum beat San Beda, 68-56, to clinch third place.
Despite the setback, the host school expressed satisfaction for the successful staging of the month-long tournament that also drew Centro Escolar University and UP-Diliman.
“We wanted to showcase our school as being part of the National Collegiate Basketball League and at the same time attract other schools when the NCBL holds its third season next school year,” said TIP’s AVP-A Angelo Quirino-Lahoz.
“The fact that the tournament had both the NCAA and UAAP schools competing – and with TIP reaching the finals against an NCAA team, we certainly achieved our modest goals.”
For his part, TIP Engineers’ coach Potit de Vera, who steered the team to the championship in NCBL’s second season last year, said that “we were the only team without imports and we even reached the finals. We just wanted to be competitive with the other schools, particularly with the NCAA and UAAP teams.”
“This is certainly a good buildup for our players,” said de Vera.