Hoyas banks on strong finishing kick, outlasts Villamor Team for opening day win

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By John Mark Herrera – Published February 4, 2020

The second game of the Saturday quadruple-header at The Upper Deck Lifestyle Center featured another household name in KOTC Basketball and a league newbie, where Hoyas immediately made their presence felt with a 90-82 victory.

Paul John Pineda and Cid Castillo each has 13 markers as the Nestor Mendones-mentored ball club overcame a scare from Villamor in the second half. Hoyas led by as much as twelve in the first few minutes of the game as the black shirts struggled with their offense.

But tables turned as the teams entered the second frame where Villamor outscored Hoyas and trail by single digit at halftime, 40-35.

The tussle would carryover in the third chapter as teams went back and forth, with Villamor scoring buckets behind Ralph Juliano and Gibson Tunacao to gain a 49-47 advantage--their first taste of the lead. Payoff period action saw no team giving an inch as they went down the wire and locked horns at 79-all in the final two minutes of play.

Despite the momentum seemingly on Villamor's side, experience and cohesiveness began lifting Hoyas in the dying moments. With weapons firing and making from all cylinders, Coach Nestor and his troops stepped on the gas and went on a barrage to score an 11-3 finishing kick and sealed their first win of the season.

Hoyas' defense was an all-important recipe in closing out the gritty Villamor side. The blue shirts collected 12 total steals and held the opposing team down to just two attempts in the final seconds.

As a team, Villamor grabbed 40 total rebounds against only 29 from Hoyas. Michael Agustin has nine points and nine rebounds, Aris Altre added nine markers of his own, while Tunacao and Juliano finished with 10 and 16 markers respectively.

Hoyas on the other hand found a variety of player production in this win. Charles Peig finished nine points, de Borja added 11 markers, while Kim Gonzales rounds out the notable contributions with eight points and six boards across his name.