Oro’s Montessori Jaguars make NBTC history

CENTER-forward Rommel Calahat scored 20 points as Assumption Montessori School (AMS) of Cagayan de Oro edged St. Jude College Cavite, 72-71 on Thursday, March 16, to clinch the Division 2 title of the SM NBTC National High School Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.

Calahat saved Assumption Montessori from a collapse, hitting a short stab with 25.2 seconds left for a 72-69 lead.

The AMS Jaguars survived anxious moments as Cavite’s Bryan Limpangog and Sarby Barquin missed open shots in the final seconds.

Guard Milo Janao scored 19 points and was named Most Valuable Player. Bull-strong forward Austin Mutya also had 19 points.

Assumption Montessori topped Group 3 with a 3-0 win-loss card before dethroning last year’s champion De La Salle Lipa in the semifinal round on Wednesday.

Victor Buraga had 17 points, while Rey De Quiros added 16 points for St. Jude, which had a good number of supporters who made the trip from Dasmariñas to Pasay City.

Buraga hit a short stab with 1:12 left in the fourth as St. Jude trimmed an 11-point deficit halfway through the fourth to just one, 67-68, before Calahat hit the crucial basket.

Assumption Montessori controlled the tempo early, picking up a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Janao scored 10 in the first two quarters as Assumption took advantage with Limpangog getting three called for three fouls in the first half.

“Masaya po. Sobrang saya,” said Assumption coach James Racines after leading the Cagayan De Oro school to the title in the event presented by Freego.

“Lahat sila running game, puro pressure (St. Jude). Ang adjustment lang namin, hindi namin sila papatulan sa running game kasi malaki sila at deep ‘yung bench nila. Eight to nine players lang kasi rotation namin. Buti naging effective,” added Racines who was adjudged Best Coach of the Year. RT/Spin.PH

The scores:

Assumption Montessori 72 — Calahat 20, Mutya 19, Janao 19, Bedolido 7, Lim 4, Hosain 2, Pagara 1, Palabrica 0, Gelogo 0.

St. Jude 71 — Buraga 17, De Quiros 16, Gurtiza 9, Aviles 9, Laurencio 8, Gabat 2, Barquin 2, Wahing 2, Limpangog 2, Mangulabnan 2, Palencia 2, Pedrola 0.

Quarter scores: 16-8; 36-33; 51-43; 72-71.