By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Jaro Gym was flooded with fans wearing blue and red in support of their teams, as the Saint Robert’s International Academy Panda Rockets prevailed against a tough and resilient Ateneo de Iloilo Blue Dragons, 68-63, in a nail-biting overtime match in the 34th season of the SBP Passerelle Twin Tournament.
The game went back and forth with both teams trading basket after basket, each posing as an equal match to the other.
At the start of the final canto, Ateneo stepped on the gas, playing with a faster pace that rewarded them a couple of times with break-away lay-ups and trips to the free-throw line.
SRIA adjusted and applied full-court pressure to counter Ateneo’s guard play, disrupting their ball movement and pace which led to numerous turnovers and SRIA getting away with easy baskets of their own.
Four quarters were not enough to separate both tough teams as they headed into overtime, 55-55.
In the overtime period, the game was again nip and tuck, with the score deadlocked at 63 with under two minutes left.
In the last 25 seconds, SRIA hit a dagger three-pointer that put them ahead, 66-63.
In the ensuing possession, Ateneo was not able to convert resulting in a SRIA basket on the other end that sealed the win and the championship.