MARIKINA CITY – Mighty Sports became the first team to notch its second win after they disposed of Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU, 75-68, in a clash of undefeated sides Friday (March 11) at the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup at the Marikina Sports Center. Winless Foton Toplander then surprised undefeated Santa Lucia Realty, 70-62, to further tighten up the standings.
Coming into the game, Coach Jonathan Reyes admitted that Foton had yet to beat the Realtors whether in official or practice games. Friday’s win was seen as a big confidence boost to their campaign as they seek to improve their 3-7 record from the Founders Cup.
“We really had to work for this win,” said Coach Reyes. “My usual scorers Levi (Hernandez) and Mikee (Reyes) were not producing and yet their teammates still went to them so I told them at halftime to help each other.”
That was the cue for Hernandez to wake up as he joined forces with former Realtor Cedric Ablaza to erase their nine-point halftime deficit and tie the count entering the final period, 49-49. Marlon Gomez and Jerick Nacpil then took over and delivered the insurance baskets in the final two minutes.
The cutting Gomez received one of six assists by Marvin Moraga for an easy close stab, Foton’s defense then forced a turnover leading to a breakaway layup by Nacpil plus a free throw off a Kent Salado foul at the 45-second mark, 66-59.
Scoreless in their last game, Nacpil made up by scattering a team-best 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Hernandez made nine of his 13 markers in the second half.
Salado paced Santa Lucia with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Landry Sanjo followed with 14 points and 13 rebounds as they missed Jun Gabriel who sprained his ankle in practice the other day.
Slowly finding its groove and coming into the right form, Mighty Sports looked to turn the game into a laugher by leading by as much as 24 points in the first half. Unfazed, Supremo Lex through Hamadou Laminou and Rocky Acidre slowly chipped away at their deficit, trailing only by a dozen going into the fourth.
Suddenly, Mighty Sports saw their lead reduced to only five markers just past the two-minute warning, 68-73. Timely free throws from Bright Akhuetie with 12 seconds to go settled the final count as he capped a fourth period that saw him bang in 10 of his 15 markers on top of 16 rebounds.
John Lopez topped Mighty Sports with 16 points and eight rebounds. After Akhuetie, Mac Montilla came next with 11 markers.
Laminou had a solid PCBL debut of 25 points and 14 rebounds. Acidre backed him up with 16 points.
“I never expected to start 2-0 considering the limited preparations we had prior to the start of the tournament,” said Coach Mike Fermin. “I’m just glad I have a Kiefer Ravena who has high basketball IQ and a veteran in TY Tang who provides leadership and stability like an additional assistant coach.”
Basketball legend and proud son of Marikina City Danny Florencio tossed the ceremonial ball before the Santa Lucia-Foton game. He was accompanied by PCBL Chairman Buddy Encarnado, Commissioner Joel Banal and Councilor Frank Ayuson.
The PCBL returns to the Malolos Sports and Convention Center this Sunday (March 13) with Mighty going for its third win against winless Euro-Med Laboratories at 5:00 PM. Santa Lucia and Jumbo Plastic try to break out of a big logjam at 7:00 PM.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (75) – Lopez 16, Akhuetie 15, Montilla 11, Ravena 9, Banal 9, M. Bringas 7, Tang 4, A. Bringas 2, Villafranca 2, Mangahas 0, Celada 0, Wongchuking 0.
SUPREMO LEX-OLFU (68) – Laminou 25, Acidre 16, Juanico 5, Brana 5, Villamin 5, Leynes 5, Importante 5, Marquez 2, Montuano 0, Jamon 0, Gozum 0.
Period Scores: 25-16, 43-25, 59-47, 75-68.
FOTON (70) – Nacpil 16, Hernandez 13, Gomez 12, Quattara 8, Rivera 8, Ablaza 7, Reyes 4, Moraga 2.
SANTA LUCIA (62) – Salado 15, Sanjo 14, Vidal 10, Bautista 7, Cawaling 5, Bangga 5, Castanarez 2, Ilagan 2, Koga 2, Escosio 0, de la Cruz 0.
Period Scores: 12-22, 30-39, 49-49, 70-62.