JB ABL ‘School Wars’ varsity category officially kicks off

Franc Tono was a beast in San Agustin’s win over IDC. (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The JB Amateur Basketball League Season III (JB ABL) “School Wars” high school and college active varsity categories finally began and brought back a nostalgic basketball atmosphere from pre-pandemic times.

After two weeks of the scheduled alumni categories, the most-awaited active varsity category kicked off and was highlighted by two high school games and two games from the tertiary level.

During the first high school varsity scheduled game, the University of San Agustin Golden Eagles demolished the Jalandoni Memorial National High School (JMNHS), 106-63.

JMNHS put up a fight in the first two quarters after sinking their three-point shots but after the Golden Eagles started clicking offensively, all hell broke loose as the Jay Dan Delos Santos-led wards snowballed their way into the game.

Jafet Dequito led San Agustin with 17 big points while manning the shaded lane with his size and athleticism advantage.

In the next game, the Hua Siong Red Phoenix survived an early onslaught from the Tiong san Blue Lions, 89-73.

Tiong San opened the ball game with an aggressive style of attack that put the bigger Hua Siong team disoriented in several defensive possessions.

Aside from their relentlessness going to the hole, Tiong San’s timely three-point shooting also rewarded them with the early lead in the first half.

However, a massive third-quarter rally reversed the game’s fortunes that saw Hua Siong’s championship pedigree rise to the occasion.

The Red Phoenix countered with their own style of penetrating the smaller Tiong San frontcourt and banked on a momentum-clinching 12-0 run in the crucial stretch of the third period.

Thomas Pillado led Hua Siong with 16 points and was a key contributor during their fiery run, attacking Tiong San in the paint at will while fishing for fouls every time he attempted to drive to the basket.

After the two high school varsity games, the persons in attendance at the Western Institute of Technology (WIT) new extension gym was treated to two intense games from the college category.

The Golden Eagles racked their second win during the day after their collegiate seniors hacked out an overtime victory over the Iloilo Doctor’s College (IDC) Medics, 104-98.

It was one of the most intense matchups in the JB ABL Season III where two teams figured in a nip-and-tuck affair the whole game.

Every time San Agustin attempted to pull away, the Medics would always come back at them and counter with their own offensive run.

However, Franc Tono’s monster game of 33 points helped the Golden Eagles escape the resilient IDC squad while also winning Stella Player of the Game honors.

In the last clash of the active varsity category, the rematch of the 2019 PRISAA college men’s basketball event between WIT and the CPU Golden Lions took place.

The Golden Lions exacted revenge against WIT after edging them in another thriller, 48-46, with superstar center Jessie Sullano leading the way for CPU with 12 big points.