PAGADIAN CITY – The Pagadian Explorers became the last team to advance to the next phase of the playoffs for the 2021 Chooks To Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Division after toppling the Kapatagan Buffalo Braves, 87-76, in their rubber match Friday at the Pagadian City Gymnasium. The Explorers used a 13-0 run late in the fourth period to put away the opposition and atone for their 82-96 loss the day earlier that forced the decider.
Kapatagan’s Bernabe Teodoro tied the game for the last time via a triple, 72-72, and the turning point of the match happened as Ryan Costelo committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Pagadian top scorer Rich Guinitaran as he converted the go-ahead basket with 4:16 to play and begin their scoring run, 74-72. Guinitaran sank the bonus free throw and with possession staying with Pagadian Von Lloyd Dechos nailed a triple and the breakaway was on.
Frustration set in the Braves with Shaquille Alanes getting thrown out for a disqualifying foul on Jeric Serrano with 1:39 to go. Jay Ar Ng Sang finally ended the run with a basket at the one-minute mark, 74-85, but it was too late as Keanu Caballero and Costelo traded field goals for the final count.
Guinitaran powered Pagadian with 22 points and 11 rebounds followed by Dechos with 16 points from four triples. Caballero added 11 points and nine assists.
Teodoro played his best game of the tournament with 19 points off the bench but the effort went to waste. Costelo followed with 18 also as a reserve as the Braves starters struggled.
The Explorers will next play the fourth seed Roxas Vanguards in a best of three series starting on Sunday. The other series will pit Clarin Sto. Nino versus JPS Zamboanga City with the two winners tangling for the right to face undefeated top seed Jumbo Plastic-Basilan Peace Riders for the championship.
How They Scored:
PAGADIAN (87) – Guinitaran 22, Dechos 16, K Caballero 11, Serrano 9, Acaylar 8, Manalo 8, Benitez 4, Demigaya 4, Pamaran 2, Diva 2, Quilo 1, Saludsod 0, Quimado 0, Bautista 0.
KAPATAGAN (76) – Teodoro 19, Costelo 18, Palma 10, Ng Sang 6, Inigo 5, Doroteo 4, Monte 4, Siarot 3, Acain 3, Alanes 2, Mandreza 2, Sollano 0.
Period Scores: 22-17, 44-37, 61-64, 87-76.