QUEZON CITY – It will be Jumbo Plastic batting Caida Tiles for the 2015 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Founders Cup. The Linoleum Giants eliminated Santa Lucia Realty, 71-69, ending the best of three semifinal series, 2-1, Monday (December 14) at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym.
Coach Stevenson Tiu praised his players for showing great character by not folding up despite falling behind by eight markers early in the third period on the strength of back to back triples from Santa Lucia top gun Mac Montilla, 37-45. Jumbo Plastic slowly rallied behind the big plays from Mark Lopez and Jeymo Eguilos to close in entering the final canto, 49-52.
Alvin Padilla reprised his heroics from Game Two as he gave Jumbo Plastic the lead for good, 64-63, at the 1:47 mark. The best that the Realtors could do was threaten after two Montilla free throws, 68-69, but this was quickly neutralized by two gift shots by Padilla at the 24-second mark, 71-68.
Padilla almost became the goat as he fouled Jerald Bautista at the three-point line. However, the usually steady Bautista could only make the second of his three attempts with Jumbo stealing the defensive rebound and throwing the ball safely to their frontcourt together with the final buzzer.
Both Lopez and Eguilos led Jumbo Plastic with 15 points each. Jeff Alvin Viernes followed with 13 while Padilla made nine of his 10 markers in the pivotal fourth period.
Montilla was the high man for the Realtors with 19 points and three assists. Big men Raymond Ilagan and Wowie Escosio were next with 12 points each but were both hampered by foul trouble.
The Realtors shocked the Giants in Game One, 72-68, last December 10. The Giants recovered in Game Two to force a rubber match, 72-65, last December 12.
“The way we played today makes me very optimistic as we enter the finals,” said Coach Tiu. “We will rest now but go to practice tomorrow and we must double our effort.”
In their lone meeting this tournament last October 14, Caida Tiles got the better of Jumbo Plastic, 94-82. Coach Tiu expects a tough series that may reach Game Three.
Game One of the championship series will be at the Malolos City Sports and Convention Center on Wednesday (December 16) at 7:00 PM. Game Two and if needed Game Three will also be in the same venue on December 20 and 22 respectively.
How They Scored:
JUMBO PLASTIC (71) – M. Lopez 15, Eguilos 15, Viernes 13, Padilla 10, Martinez 7, Arellano 4, Taganas 4, J. Lopez 3, Mandani 0, Acosta 0.
SANTA LUCIA (69) – Montilla 19, Escosio 12, Ilagan 12, Salado 8, Bautista 7, Onwubere 5, Gabriel 4, Celiz 2, Camasura 0, Wetherell 0, Vidal 0, Sarangay 0.
Period Scores: 18-20, 31-32, 49-52, 71-69.