QUEZON CITY – Third seed Santa Lucia Realty summoned all of their strength to upset second seed Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants, 72-68, in Game One of their best of three semifinal series in the 2015 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Founders Cup at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym Thursday evening (December 10).
Mac Montilla hit a long triple from top of the key that shattered the game’s final deadlock, 70-67, at the 54-second mark. The Realtors then sent Jeff Alvin Viernes to the free throw stripe but the usually prolific guard could only register a split, 68-70, and 32 ticks left on the clock.
Jun Gabriel then scored by following up his own miss to set the final count with still 10 seconds to go. Sadly, Jumbo Plastic failed in their ensuing possession with the Realtors dribbling the remaining time away.
Jumbo Plastic held a precarious 54-49 lead early in the fourth canto but Santa Lucia went on a 14-2 blitz powered by triples from Taylor Wetherell, Jerald Bautista and Mac Montilla, 63-58. The Giants countered with seven unanswered points of their own to grab the lead for the last time, 65-63.
“The hardest game is the one to close out a series so we will treat Game Two as if it was a do or die game,” said Coach Boni Garcia. “The team was very tired after our series with Cagayan and I salute the players for their effort today.”
Raymond Ilagan paced Santa Lucia with 12 points and five rebounds. Gabriel was next with 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while Bautista also had 11 points and six rebounds.
John Lopez led Jumbo Plastic with 14 followed by Acosta with 13, both personal tournament highs. However, the expected offense from Viernes and James Martinez was missed with the duo hitting a combined 10 points, a far cry from their 29.5 output entering Game One.
In the first game, top seed Caida Tiles continued their mastery of Euro-Med Laboratories, 87-81. The Tilemasters also took their classification phase meeting, 69-67, last November 14.
Playing his best PCBL game to date, Jiovani Jalalon returned from a one-game absence and struck hardest in the fourth period as he unloaded nine points, including a crucial triple and a pair of free throws. Jalalon sat out their playoff game against Supremo Lex-OLFU to join Arellano University for a pocket tournament in his home province of Misamis Oriental.
Jalalon hit a personal high of 20 points on top of four rebounds, six assists and two steals in 23 minutes of action coming off the bench. Dexter Maiquez ably supported him with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Jopher Custodio hit 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second period as Euro-Med reversed their 14-18 deficit into a 38-35 advantage at halftime. Mar Villahermosa was next with 17 points.
Both the Tilemasters and Realtors shoot for championship berths on Saturday (December 12) at JCSGO. Santa Lucia tackles Jumbo Plastic at 2:00 PM followed by Caida Tiles and Euro-Med tangling at 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
CAIDA TILES (87) – Jalalon 20, Maiquez 16, Terso 8, Lozada 7, Ruaya 7, Hayes 6, Robles 6, Corpuz 5, Gabawan 5, Leynes 3, Rios 2, Almario 2.
EURO-MED (81) – Custodio 18, Villahermosa 17, Llagas 15, de Leon 10, Cortes 8, Galanza 6, Jeruta 4, Abundo 3, Zamar 0, Celso 0, Cruz 0.
Period Scores: 18-14, 35-38, 60-59, 87-81.
SANTA LUCIA (72) – Ilagan 12, Bautista 11, Gabriel 11, Vidal 10, Montilla 9, Escosio 8, Salado 6, Wetherell 3, Onwubere 2, Camasura 0, Celiz 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (68) – J. Lopez 14, Acosta 13, M. Lopez 12, Eguilos 10, Viernes 8, Arellano 7, Mandani 2, Martinez 2, Padilla 0, Taganas 0, Perez 0, Tayongtong 0.
Period Scores: 13-12, 28-30, 43-49, 72-68.