SAN JUAN City – Accurate three-point shooting was the big difference as Euro-Med Laboratories and Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU whitewashed separate opponents at the resumption of the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Founders Cup Friday (November 20) at the San Juan Arena.
Euro-Med had to work extra hard after falling behind early to get the better of the Cagayan Rising Suns, 77-63. It was the same story for the Builders as they slowly crept back to topple the Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants, 69-62.
Paul Zamar opened the final period with a triple, 61-58. From there, he would blast two more with Jopher Custodio and Mar Villahermosa adding one each for good measure as the once-tight contest blew wide open.
Villahermosa also converted on several layups off turnovers that tolled heavily on the Suns’ chances. Zamar’s final triple proved to be the backbreaker as it upped Euro-Med’s lead to 13 markers at the two-minute warning, 75-62.
The Rising Suns banked on the hot shooting of Ralph Salcedo to race to a 29-13 lead late in the second period. From there, Villahermosa and Samboy de Leon scattered a combined nine points in the third canto to temporarily grab the lead for the first time, 37-36.
Euro-Med allowed the Rising Suns to get back ahead but Custodio nailed a triple at the close of the period that tied the count at 58-58. That was a portent of things to come.
“Our motivation today was to get back at Cagayan after they beat us in our first game,” said Coach Yong Garcia. “The difference now is that we are a complete team as we did not have Zamar and (Pari) Llagas then.”
Villahermosa mocked all defenders to finish with 21 points and four assists. Zamar and Custodio followed with 13 and 12 points respectively, both personal highs for the tournament.
Coach Garcia praised Villahermosa’s work ethic, describing him as always early for practice and the last to leave after doing extra work. He also gave credit to his guards for their defense on the usually prolific CJ Isit, who was limited to a lone triple, a far cry from his 13.7 scoring average entering the game.
With Isit struggling, Salcedo took over the scoring load to finish with 14 points but was held scoreless in the second half. Stephen Siruma and Nicole Bangga tried to help by chipping in 11 and 10 markers respectively.
In the second game, the Builders unloaded 11 triples on a stunned Jumbo Plastic squad. Alvin Padilla and Tristan Perez scored back-to-back field goals to start the third period and tied the game for the last time, 28-28.
Suddenly, the initial barrage came in as Christopher Bitoon and Bernabe Teodoro countered with back-to-back triples, 34-28. From there, Teodoro would continue his personal onslaught as the Builders would hold on to the lead for good.
Timely baskets by Bitoon, Joseph Gabayni and Jaypee Belencion helped maintain their distance. A second set of back-to-back triples by Bitoon and Teodoro gave Supremo Lex an unassailable dozen-point advantage with 1:38 left on the game clock, 67-55.
Bitoon hit four triples en route to a personal conference-best of 19 points. Teodoro was just as hot, connecting on six triples for a total of 18 points, also a personal conference high.
James Martinez tried his best to lift the Giants but to avail, tallying 12 markers. Perez and Padilla were next with 10 points but the rest of the team failed to hit their usual scoring averages, most glaring of which was Jeff Alvin Viernes who went scoreless after averaging 16.1 per game.
The penultimate day of the classification phase will be played this Tuesday (November 24) at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym in Cubao, Quezon City. Euro-Med tangles with Santa Lucia Realty at 4:00 followed by the Builders versus top seed Caida Tiles at 6:00 PM.
How They Scored:
EURO-MED (77) – Villahermosa 21, Zamar 13, Custodio 12, de Leon 7, Cruz 6, Abundo 5, Cortes 4, Santos 4, Jeruta 3, Llagas 2, Galanza 0.
CAGAYAN VALLLEY (63) – Salcedo 14, Siruma 11, Bangga 10, Brana 8, Acidre 5, Doligon 3, Arce 3, Managuelod 3, Flores 3, Isit 3, Caranguian 0.
Period Scores: 6-19, 23-31, 48-48, 77-63.
SUPREMO LEX-OLFU (69) – Bitoon 19, Teodoro 18, Gabayni 14, Belencion 6, Escueta 6, Yaya 4, Importante 2, Santos 0, Juanico 0, Marquez 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (62) – Martinez 12, Padilla 10, Perez 10, Arellano 8, Mandani 7, Taganas 5, Eguilos 5, J. Lopez 3, Acosta 2, Viernes 0, Tayongtong 0.
Period Scores: 8-16, 28-24, 48-43, 69-62.