Ibanez helps 1996/1997 overcome 1998's fightback to notch first win


By Frank Leo Aniscal - Published July 11, 2019



Jericho Ibanez carried his team on his shoulder as he sank crucial free throws to help 1996/1997 overcome 1998's uprising in the second half, 60-56, recording their first win in the Aquinas School Alumni Basketball League (ASABL) held at Aquinas Gym in San Juan City.

As their 21-point lead got melted, 1996/1997 showed poise in the final two minutes, especially in the defensive end. Ibanez's aggressiveness and hustle to get important rebounds became the difference maker as he was sent to the free throw line and knocked down crucial baskets.

Ibanez finished with a double-double performance of 20 points and 10 rebounds, on top of his five assists, four steals and one block. John Carlo Magno helped with 11 each in points and rebounds, along with three steals and two blocks.

After going down by three in the first few minutes of action, 1996/1997 returned the favor with an overwhelming 19-2 run through their fastbreak attacks to end the first quarter, 21-7.

Scoreless in the opening quarter, Valenzuela got his rhythm in the second period as he poured seven straight points to give 1996/1997 its highest lead at 21 points, 28-21. Players off the bench also stepped up as they remained on top by 18 at the half, 35-17.

Finding the right combination of players, 1998 gave the leading team a dose of their own medicine after completing a couple of attacks in the transition, gathering 10 unanswered points to force 1996/1997 call a timeout. Unfortunately, the fiery 1998 continued their comeback attempt as Jordan Quintana led the way to bring them to within two before the final salvo, 46-44.

Quintana's triple in the last 1:27 minute officially gave 1998 the advantage, 54-52, but Magno made it just a short taste as he responded with his own cold-blooded trey. As the game went close down to the crucial stage, 1996/1997 banked on Ibanez's shooting from the free throw line as the big man had steady touch from the stripe to put his team to winning column.

Quintana showed up for 1998 as he collected a 12-point,11-rebound double-double effort, while Sean Ong and Jessie Ray Festejos added 10 markers each.


Player of the Game - Jericho Ibanez

Going up against much taller and more athletic opponents, Jericho Ibanez accepted the tough challenge and prevailed in the end as he propelled 1996/1997 to a hard-earned 60-56 win against 1998.

His hustle to grab crucial rebounds and steady shooting from the free throw line made the win possible, ending up with the game-high of 20 points and 10 rebounds to complete a double-double performance. He also gathered five assists, four steals, and one block to get the Player of the Game honor.