FIVE down, two to go for defending champion St. Clare College-Caloocan.
The Saints drew superb games from Junjie Hallare and import Mohamed Pare to scuttle Rizal Technological University, 83-59, and claim their fifth straight win in the NAASCU Season 18 men’s basketball tournament at the RTU gym.
Hallare finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds and Pare added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Caloocan City-based team of NAASCU founding president Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem and multi-titled coach Jino Manansala.
So dominant were the Saints that they outscored the Blue Thunder in al four periods highlighted by a 16-0 opening salvo that took the fight out of the Blue Thunder and silenced the pro-RTU home crowd.
Jhondel Flores and Philip Redondo paced RTU with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Before beating RTU, St. Clare also won over Enderun Colleges (96-72), Philippine Merchant Marine School (81-76 ), Holy Angel University (119-60) and newcomer National Teachers College (133-57).
The Saints’ average winning margin of 37.6 points in their first five games is considered as one of the biggest in the league’s 18-year history so far.
St. Clare’s remaining two assignments in the elimination round are City University of Pasay on Sept. 27 and Our Lady of Fatima University on Oct. 1.
The 15 participating senior teams are divided into two groups with the two best teams in Group A and B advancing to the quarterfinals outright with twice to beat advantage.
The teams which placed third to sixth will go through a knockout crossover round against teams from the opposite group to determine the remaining four quarterfinalists.
The best-of-three semifinals and finals will follow
St. Clare (83) -- Hallare 19, Pare 18, Santos 9, de Leon 7, Fontanilla 7, Fuentes 5, Penaredondo 4, Palencia 4, Catura 3, Junsay 2, Rebugio 2, Joven 2, Rubio 1, Tecson 0, Decano 0.
RTU (59) -- Flores 15, Redondo 10, Estoce 6, Asuncion 6, Laman 6, Sienes 5, Torre 5, Flor 2, Tilos 2, Teofilo 2, Ronquillo 0, Reyes 0, Banaag 0, Calapine 0, Guting 0, Casitas 0.
Quarterscores: 24-10, 46-30, 67-44, 83-59.