7 July 2019
By Maxine Louise Lagman
MANILA, Philippines – Double the speed, double the tenacity.
Still a duo to watch for, the Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee lifted Lyceum Pirates to survive against Letran Knights, 84-80, in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball opening game at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday, July 7.
The twins were on a roll with Jaycee topping the charts with a game-high 24 points, along with six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. While his brother added 18 markers and six boards.
“We’re focusing our energies on being the smallest and quickest team in the league, hoping that other teams will not catch up with us,” said coach Topex Robinson.
Last season’s runner-up continues to be a force to be reckoned with all throughout the game, despite the absence of Cameroonian center Mike Nzeusseu, who suffers from a fractured index finger.
Lyceum took on an early 12-point lead in the first quarter, 17-2, that led to a 42-30 advantage. Letran team captain Jerrick Balanza urged his team for a 9-2 comeback, but Jayvee Marcelino blocked them from taking any further baskets and took charge into closing the first half with a 47-39 lead.
The Pirates continued the magic until the third, until Balanza dropped back-to-back baskets early in the fourth period that gave them a 70-66 advantage.
However, the Marcelino twins were nowhere near into giving up. Jayvee and Jaycee alternated putting baskets for a 16-6 run that gave them back the lead.
Tommy Olivario knocked down a basket to close the gap, 80-82. Balanza got possession of the ball for a possible tie, but he passed the ball too hard that it went straight into Jayvee’s hands.
Jayvee went in for a fastbreak layup and sealed the deal with three second left on the game.
Balanza led Letran with 19 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals, while Larry Muyang had 14 points off the bench.
LPU 84 – Marcelino JC 24, Marcelino JV 18, Caduyac 16, Santos 8, David 6, Yong 3, Navarro 3, Ibanez 2, Valdez 2, Tansingco 2, Pretta 0
LETRAN 80 – Balanza 19, Muyang 14, Ular 12, Ambohot 10, Olivario 8, Caralipio 5, Batiller 4, Reyson 3, Mina 3, Yu 2, Balagasay 0
Quarter scores: 17-21, 47-39, 64-62, 84-80
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