IN WHAT dubbed as a battle of titans, St. Francis Xavier Cup defending champions Xavier University High School (XUHS) 1994 stained the much younger batch 2001 in a 57-46 victory of the 8th XUHS-ABA Basketball Tournament on Friday at XUHS covered courts in uptown Pueblo de Oro.
It was Alumni 1994’s four straight wins, while handing Batch 2001 of its first loss in four outings.
Paul Valencia fired 20 points to lead the 94ers, while red hot Jerome Pagute came in with 14 markers.
Valencia and Pagute also got a lot of help from bull-strong center Dexter Mark Pajaren as they ignited a 15-2 run for the 94ers right in the first quarter.
But things started to get cold for them in the second quarter as they allowed 2001 to trim the lead to only five, 26-21.
Elton Lagasca led 2001’s own uprising as they had their first taste of the lead, 29-27 before another 1994 bubble to wrest back the lead at the end of the third quarter, 35-33.
From there, Valencia and Pagute stepped on the gas to build a double-digit lead that were never threatened.
The IAM 98 scored their first win in the season via a 63-60 come-from-behind squeaker over Batch 1996 of playmaker Elich Alfante.
Lourdilord Ampo banged in 16 points to lead 1998, while Mike Daming contributed 11 points including three from the arc.
Batch 1998 erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter courtesy of two three-point bombs from Daming and Atty. Melber Alinas.
The IAM 98 also converted three successive steals to have their first taste of the lead, 55-53.
But, they were not able to make a stretch as they allowed 1996 to pull a 6-0 run en route to a four-point lead.
However, 1996 lost steam in the face of 1998’s better endgame play anchored by Ryan Yacapin, Frankie Salvaña and Abelou Sanchez.
Alfante led 1996 with 26 points, while Niño Yacapin chipped in 12 points.
In other results, Batch 1995 pulled a 63-58 escape victory against 1991 in overtime.
Batch 2007 prevailed over Alumni 2004 in another close encounter, 53-51.