MALOLOS CITY – Andrian Celada snatched the spotlight from his more illustrious teammates as he powered Mighty Sports to a resounding 79-70 victory over the Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants and kick start their maiden campaign at the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center Sunday evening (March 6). In the main game, defense saved the day for Santa Lucia Realty as they held off Euro-Med Laboratories, 66-64.
Celada scattered four triples as part of Mighty’s fourth period blitzkrieg that saw them outscore the Giants, 20-8, including back to back hits that gave them a 74-68 lead with 2:19 to go. Prior to that, Allan Mangahas hit a triple for the game’s only deadlock, 68-68, capping Mighty’s rally from as much as 14 markers down late in the second period, 25-39.
Bright Akhuetie led Mighty’s strong second half performance en route to a game-high 21 points and 18 rebounds. Kiefer Ravena came in good as advertised with 16 points and five assists with his last basket coming at the six-minute mark, a triple that trimmed their deficit, 62-67, and paving the way for Celada’s heroics.
Coach Mike Fermin was quick to praise Celada not just for his offensive output of 15 points all on triples but for his defensive work on Jumbo Plastic’s designated scorers James Martinez and Jeff Alvin Viernes. Martinez and Viernes both churned out 19 points each but Martinez was held scoreless in the final period and Viernes could only cough up a basket entering the final two minutes.
Guard Kent Salado came up with two crucial steals in the final minute to preserve the Realtors’ triumph. Salado swiped the ball away from McJour Luib near the midcourt line and soared for an easy layup with 14 seconds left and pushed the Realtors ahead, 66-64.
Euro-Med had a chance at redemption but Salado was again there to break up their final play and dribbled the time away. In the end, the smaller Salado won in his late shootout with Euro-Med behemoth Ola Adeogun as they traded shots in the final minute.
Defensive beanpole Jun Gabriel scored on a pair of dunks to lead the Realtors with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Landry Sanjo and JR Cawaling supported him with 10 points each with Sanjo grabbing nine rebounds.
Jopher Custodio finished with 15 points and seven rebounds for Euro-Med. Adeogun also had 15 points to go with eight rebounds.
Meanwhile, the PCBL announced that SCTEX has been admitted as the league’s seventh member. To be handled by Coach Adonis Tierra, the squad will be composed of good mix of pro league veterans and recent graduates led by team captain Borgie Hermida and Ervin Sotto.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (79) – Akhuetie 21, Ravena 16, Celada 15, Banal 12, Mangahas 6, Gonzaga 4, M. Bringas 3, Lopez 2, Montilla 0, Regalado 0, Wongchuking 0, Oktubre 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (70) – Viernes 19, Martinez 19, Taganas 9, Oraeme 6, Lopez 4, Padilla 4, Santos 3, Mandani 2, Arellano 2, Siruma 1, Ibay 1, Eguilos 0.
Period Scores: 13-19, 30-41, 51-62, 79-70.
SANTA LUCIA (66) – Gabriel 14, Sanjo 10, Cawaling 10, Escosio 6, Salado 6, Ilagan 6, Vidal 5, Bautista 5, Bangga 4, de la Cruz 0, Koga 0.
EURO-MED (64) – Adeogun 15, Custodio 15, Salcedo 8, Raymundo 6, Almario 6, Sollano 5, Galanza 4, Tajonera 3, Vigil 2, Luib 0, Gil 0, Saitanan 0, Quinto 0.
Period Scores: 12-13, 35-33, 55-50, 66-64.