Smart Sports Scribes fall short vs Smileys in PSA Cup thriller

Smart Sports Scribes fall short vs Smileys in PSA Cup thriller
Spin.PH editor-in-chief Dodo Catacutan of the Smart Sports Scribes eludes the Say Chiz defense for a layup.
Angelica Castro / PSA

MANILA, Philippines – AJ Bolando scored 19 points and Julio Sampedro added 18, but those weren’t enough as the Smart Sports Scribes came up short against the Say Chiz Smileys in a thrilling 66-64 contest in the opening of the 2024 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Tuesday.

A game-winning floater by Jeric Lopez with 39 seconds left; a big offensive rebound by Aivan Episcope; and crucial stops in the last 8.4 seconds helped the Smileys of Philippine Daily Inquirer's Francis Ochoa escape the Smart-backed side of Spin.PH's Dodo Catacutan. 

The tournament is one of the projects of PSA president and STAR sports editor Nelson Beltran of Philippine Star.

Jonas Terrado of the Inquirer finished with game-highs 21 points and 14 rebounds, along with four steals, two assists and a block.

Lopez followed with 16 points, three rebounds and four assists, while Cedelf Tupas posted 15 points, four assists and four steals.

Smart Sports’ Bolando spiked his team-high scoring with eight rebounds and two steals, while Sampedro drained six triples to help anchor the Scribes' offense.

The first game saw Capital1 Solar Boys pulling off a wire-to-wire victory over the Strong Group Athletics Press Row Bros, 86-74.

Christian Jacinto and birthday boy Aldo Aviñante were all business en route to the win for Capital1 of Manila Bulletin's Ramon Bonilla.

Jacinto logged 21 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks while Aviñante, who turned 35, tallied 19 points, five assists, and three rebounds.

Two more players from the Solar Boys reached double figures with Mark Rey Montejo and John Bryan Ulanday adding 16 and 11 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Diego Dela Paz and Eugene Flores recorded 17 points apiece for the Press Row Bros of Daily Tribune's Julius Manicad.

An opening ceremony ushered in the return of the basketball event, with Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richard Bachmann and Dr. Ian Laurel of Shakey's Super League and Athletic Events and Sports Management Inc. serving as special guests.

The tournament will continue next week, with early winners Say Chiz and Capital1 clashing in the first game followed by Smart Sports versus Strong Group.

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