The Top 2 seeds in the Jr. NBA Tournament reached the Finals yesterday and played a thrilling down-to-the-wire contest in front of a small but vocal crowd of students, parents, coaches and school officials.
The Ateneo De Manila University defeated San Beda College Team 1 72-66 and was named the first-ever Jr. NBA Philippines Tournament Champion and received the Jr. NBA Microsoft School Award. Ateneo led almost the entire way with San Beda courageously staging several rallies to cut the lead to 3 with only 30 seconds left. They could not prevent Ateneo from making key baskets down the stretch, however, and finished the game as the Tournament Runners-Up.
Earlier, Ateneo defeated La Salle Zobel 68-48 in the Western Conference Finals while San Beda blasted the University of Santo Tomas 82-59 in the Eastern Conference Finals to set the stage for the Jr. NBA Championship.
Ateneo's "big man" Al Bugarin won the Gatorade Jr. NBA Player of the Tournament for leading his team in scoring and rebounding, while Ateneo's Keifer Ravena (son of ex-PBA Player Bong Ravena) won the Spalding Assist Award for leading the Tournament in assists. Coach Joe Silva won the DHL All The Way Coaching Award for leading his team to the Championship.
The overall Tournament scorer was Nikko Montelibano of La Salle Greenhills, averaging 18 points per game, and was presented with the Philippine Airlines High-Scorer of the Tournament Award.
Earlier in the day, two skill events were contested. John Monteclaro of San Beda Team 1 won the Jr. NBA 3-Point Shootout presented by Basketball TV, while Napoleon Miranda and Keifer Lim of San Beda Collage Team 2 triumphed in the Jr. NBA 2Ball presented by Caltex with Techron.