#NSL360: Under-14 and Under-16 teams battle title

Jay Asser 12:32 28/05/2015
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Top gun: John Carlo Bautista (No11) leads TPS U16 scoresheet with 76 points in all games.

The Philippine School remain the ones to beat as the NSL narrows down to the final four teams in both age groups for the semi-finals.

– VIDEO: DPS Sharjah MVP Mohsin Subbooh eyes #NSL360 glory

– VIDEO: Tanishq Sughnani shines again in #NSL360 quarter-finals

Led by star guard John Carlo Bautista, The Philippine School (TPS) will face hosts Victoria International School Sharjah (VISS) as the under-16 squads meet on Saturday.

After dominating group play with a perfect 3-0 mark, TPS put to rest any doubt of their prowess by earning a 52-36 blowout victory in the quarter-finals against 21st Century, previously unbeaten in their own right.

VISS, meanwhile, split their four contests in group play before upsetting Our Own Al Warqa’a in a thrilling comeback during the first knockout stage. Our Own Al Warqa’a were the only team to threaten TPS during group play, losing by one point.

The clash between the schools this weekend will feature three of the top five scorers in the age group, with Bautista coming up against the VISS duo of Hashim Hazeem and Ahmed Abdulle.

In the other under-16 match-up, Dubai International Academy (DIA) face New Filipino Private School (NFPS).

Both sides have yet to drop a game, but play different styles. DIA run through leader Tanishq Sughnani, who’s helped carry the shorthanded team of six players to this point.

The dynamic point guard has recently received extra attention from opposing defences and saw him being marked on occasions in the quarter-final win against Philippine Emirates Private School (PEPS).

His team-mates, however, took advantage of the open opportunities and proved they are no one-man team.

NFPS, meanwhile, have a balanced attack with no one player necessarily near the top of the individual statistics table.

They had the best point differential of the tournament during group play at plus-116 and are equally strong on both ends of the court.

The highlight game of under-14 pits giant-killers Delhi Private School (DPS) Sharjah against Indian High School Dubai.

Indian Hoopstar already eliminated their toughest competition in the bracket when they defeated then-unbeaten NFPS in the quarter-finals, but after fighting back for a confidence-boosting win against 21st Century last week, DPS Sharjah are far from an easy out.

The winner will take on either the International School of Choueifat (ISC) Abu Dhabi or Dubai College in the finals.

ISC have a tandem of paint threats in Kareem Eid and Gohar Hussain, while Dubai College are making the most of their wild card entry into the knockout stage 
after finishing third in their group in round-robin play.

All four games for both under-16 and under-14 will take place at VISS, which will also host the finals the following week.

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