By Hamsha Nocedo, published June 5, 2019

Four years with an unblemished record, Eton Properties tasted its first loss in the Kings of the Court | STR8 Philippines Corporate Competitive Division at the hands of gritty Essensa Naturale, 76-72, in their June 2 duel at The Upper Deck in Ortigas.

After being down majority in the game, Essensa found their strength by going to their bigs inside the paint, and slowly chipped away at a four-point cushion enjoyed by Eton entering the fourth period.

Derick Hubalde helped Essensa drew first blood by hitting essential baskets in their pivotal run in the final frame alongside two 3-pointers, one was beating the shot clock cutting the deficit to four halfway thru, then the other from the hash that reduced the lead to a slim, 69-68 under the last three minutes.

Bryan Cave’s triple at the 2:21 gave Essensa the first taste of the lead, 71-69, and later on Kenneth Paul Cruz charities with 22 seconds remaining sealed the deal for his team.

Hubalde finished with 26 points, and grabbed eight rebounds, who also made decisive free throws down the stretch. Bryanne Salenga added a double-double output with ten, and 13 boards while, Patrick Lazo chipped in 9 markers, thus making accurate passes with 13 dimes with no turnovers.

Before losing, Eton Properties had a 24-game winning streak, getting grandslam-like championship under their belt, one for invitational and two for recreational after joining to one of the most competitive sports organizer last 2015.

Missing their key players, Dexter Degano stepped up for Eton with his own double-double performance with 22 points and 12 boards, but came out short as he commited his two remaining fouls in the last period, first was an offensive foul at 3:09, and he graduated at 1:25 by hustling for a loose ball, but was whistled for a foul.

Bong Tan delivered for Eton down the stretch as he made his own three pointers, first to stopped Essensa’s momentum early in the fourth, and hit again with 26 ticks remaining to kept them alive, 74-72.

He mustered 14 points, and delivered six assist for his team. However, Essensa’s defense hounded him in his last three attempts from the rainbow arc, spoiling their potential comeback.

Eton swifted for a nine to four blitz right after the tip, together with their defense and quick ball movement, they do up by 14 at the end of first quarter 14, 26-12.

Jumping to second, Eton maintained their defensive scheme which resulted into fastbreak points, they go to the halftime with a score, 39-26.

The second half is a quite different story as Essensa’s offense started to click. They have a nine point turn around at the third period, 25-16 and used it to cut the lead to four entering to the fourth period.


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