By Robert Balajadia
For the third straight year, the Father Duenas Friars Class of 2006 was the last team standing as they defeated the Class of 2002 Sunday night 55-52 to conclude the FD Alumni Tournament. ’06 has now won four of their last five championships since joining the tournament as freshmen.
The hosting class of 2002 had a chance to send the game into overtime as Shaun Perez fired up a three pointer with less than a second left in the game only to hit front rim and fall short securing the ’06 three-peat. Perez led all scorers with 25 points while being held to just five in the first half.
Vince Estella added 12 points for ’02 and came out aggressive in the second half but was held without a basket in the closing minutes of the game. Julius Yu led ’06 with 17 points while scoring timely buckets ending runs that ’02 would use to try and take the lead. Brian Aflague chipped in 14 points for ’06 and was the primary ball handler in crunch time.
’02 had trouble on guarding the fast break in the first half as ’06 used every opportunity to run the floor scoring majority of their 27 points in the half on the break. Perez shook off the first half ice going for 20 in the second half including a late three pointer in the final minute to bring the game within a single possession 51-49 as ’06 headed to the free throw line. Aflague missed a free throw giving ’02 life but a missed three by Estella led to closing free throws by Yu.
’06 seemed to be at their best when playing small ball despite the height of Perez and Estella in the paint. Aflague did a good job at working the ball to open shooters while occasionally finding his way to the basket for highlight reel plays. Jimmie Yi had a strong first half for ’02 with eight points putting pressure on the ’06 big men but the speed adjustment of ’06 made it difficult for ’02 to protect the rim.
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