QUEZON CITY – Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants became the first team to advance to the semifinals of the 2015 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Founders Cup after they eliminated Foton Toplander, 71-62, last Thursday (December 3) at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym. In another quarterfinal series, Cagayan Rising Suns forced a winner-take-all game after stalling Santa Lucia Realty, 82-67.
Mark Lopez and Jeff Alvin Viernes steered the Giants to an early 7-0 but this was quickly neutralized by a 10-0 counter by Foton. From there, Jumbo Plastic wasted no time as three-point plays by Alvin Padilla and Jeymo Eguilos started a 12-2 closing run to set the first score at 19-12.
James Martinez and Jay-R Taganas, teammates dating back to their high school days at San Beda College, combined in a crippling 14-0 blast that gave the Giants their biggest lead of the game just before halftime, 41-24. With their tournament lives on the line, Foton fought back behind Levi Hernandez, Ed Rivera and Marvin Moraga to trim the deficit to only six markers, 58-64, and 3:21 left on the clock.
That was the cue for Martinez and Viernes to score back-to-back baskets followed by a dagger triple from Martinez that assured Jumbo’s advance, 71-58, and still 2:10 remaining. “James and Jeff are expected to carry the team because they are our veterans,” said Coach Stevenson Tiu, who also challenged his players not to lapse into complacency because of their twice to beat advantage.
Martinez sank three triples en route to a team-high 18 points, 10 made in the second period. Eguilos followed with 10 points off the bench.
Hernandez topped Foton with 19 points, further cementing his status as the PCBL’s best scorer. Rivera had 13 points on top of 10 rebounds and four assists.
The Rising Suns used a critical 11-0 run midway through the final canto to break the once tight contest wide open, 75-65. Mac Montilla broke the Realtors’ silence with two free throws but that was the last to be heard from them as Mark Brana took over by making five of Cagayan’s final seven markers, capped by a triple that settled the final tally with still 35 ticks to go.
“Our game plan was to defend well especially on Montilla,” explained Coach Toto Dojillo. “I believe with this win the momentum has shifted to our side so you all on Tuesday.”
At first, the plan seemed ineffective as Montilla burned the goal for seven points easily taken by the Realtors, 21-15. Montilla then went scoreless in the second period as Bangga dropped 12 points, outscoring the entire Santa Lucia team which could muster nine, to turn the tide in Cagayan’s favor at the halftime break, 38-30.
Coach Dojillo also admitted that the team’s play was affected by their constant complaining to the referees, capped by the ejection of assistant coach Jomar Tierra in the third period. “I told them to settle down, just focus on playing and leave the officials to me,” he said.
Brana paced Cagayan with 15 of his 22 points coming in the fourth period as they outscored Santa Lucia, 26-16. Despite foul trouble and eventually fouling out, Nicole Bangga added 19 markers in 12 minutes of action.
Wowie Escosio came off the bench to pace the Realtors with 13 points. Robby Celiz and Kent Salado came next with 12 points each.
The other half of the PCBL Founders Cup quarterfinals will be held this Saturday (December 5) at JCSGO. Top seed Caida Tiles will play eighth seed Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU at 2:00 PM followed immediately by fourth seed Euro-Med Laboratories against fifth seed Kama Motors at 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
CAGAYAN VALLEY (82) – Brana 22, Bangga 19, Arce 12, Siruma 9, Flores 6, Caranguian 4, Acidre 4, Macasling 3, Managuelod 3, Salcedo 0, Isit 0.
SANTA LUCIA (67) – Escosio 13, Salado 12, Celiz 12, Montilla 11, Vidal 7, Camasura 3, Castanarez 3, Wetherell 2, Onwubere 2, Gabriel 2, Ablaza 0, Ilagan 0, Bautista 0, Sarangay 0.
Period Scores: 15-21, 38-30, 56-51, 82-67.
JUMBO PLASTIC (71) – Martinez 18, Eguilos 10, J. Lopez 8, Taganas 8, Viernes 6, Padilla 6, Tayongtong 6, M. Lopez 5, Arellano 4, Mandani 0, Acosta 0, Perez 0.
FOTON (62) – Hernandez 19, Rivera 13, Reyes 8, Mangahas 7, Moraga 5, Penaflor 3, Gomez 3, Rosaroso 2, Nacpil 2, Enriquez 0.
Period Scores: 19-12, 41-28, 54-41, 71-62.