MALOLOS CITY – Mighty Sports marched to its third straight win at the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup by thumping Euro-Med Laboratories, 81-63, in continuing action Sunday (March 13) at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. Santa Lucia Realty also returned to the winning track by halting Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants in the other contest, 87-75.
Slowly becoming the yardstick for imports, Bright Akhuetie already had a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds by halftime as Mighty raced to a 38-27 lead. Gab Banal then unleashed three of his six triples in the third canto to break the game wide open entering the fourth, 63-43.
Coach Mike Fermin had the luxury sitting Akhuetie in the final canto as the rest of the squad helped maintain their margin. Still, Mighty managed to stretch their lead to as high as 27 markers, 74-47.
“I am blessed to be coaching a dream team based on the players’ attitudes,” said Coach Fermin. “They are all winners in their past teams so it will boil down to how we can combine them together.”
Akhuetie finished with his best game of the tournament thus far with 22 points and 19 rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Banal and Kiefer Ravena also registered personal bests with Banal scoring all his 18 points from the three-point line while Ravena had 17 points on top of five rebounds and three assists.
Despite owning solo leadership, Coach Fermin still believes a lot of work is still needed. “We are probably at 80-percent but good thing is that we are now able to practice with a complete roster.”
Jeff Tajonera paced Euro-Med with 11 points followed by Alex Almario as the only other teammate in twin digits with 10 points and nine rebounds. Euro-Med absorbed its third straight defeat and is mired at the bottom of the seven-team standings.
While Akhuetie flourished, Santa Lucia import Landry Sanjo struggled in the second game but the local crew stepped up big time to tally the victory. The likes of Kent Salado, Wowie Escosio, Jett Vidal and Nicole Bangga all submitted personal best scores while playing crucial roles.
Salado came off the bench to score 12 of his 22 points in the second period as the Realtors took the upper hand for good by halftime, 47-33. Cawaling, Salado, Escosio and Vidal then combined to pull further away with Bangga giving them their biggest lead in the third, 63-43.
James Martinez tried his best to rally the Giants by himself, cutting their deficit to only nine markers, 70-79. Salado doused water on Jumbo’s rally by stealing the ball from Martinez for an easy layup entering the two-minute warning, 81-70.
Allan Santos scored to threaten anew but it was quickly neutralized by a dagger triple from Vidal, 84-72, and 1:02 remaining on the clock. Martinez would counter with his fourth triple but it was too late as Vidal settled the final score with a buzzer-beating trey.
Salado nearly had a triple double with seven rebounds and 10 assists. Escosio followed with 17 points and seven rebounds while Vidal had four triples for 12 points.
Martinez finished with a total of 23 points, 12 made in the fourth period. Jeff Alvin Viernes was next with 14 points.
SCTEX, the tournament’s seventh entry, will finally make their debut on Wednesday (March 15) against Foton Toplander at the Marikina Sports Center starting at 5:00 PM. Jumbo Plastic will try to recover from the stinging loss as they play unpredictable Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU in the main game at 7:00 PM.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (81) – Akhuetie 22, Banal 18, Ravena 17, Wongchuking 6, Oktubre 4, Montilla 2, Regalado 2, Celada 2, Lopez 2, A. Bringas 2, Villafranca 2, M. Bringas 2, Mangahas 0, Melocoton 0, Gonzaga 0.
EURO-MED (63) – Tajonera 11, Almario 10, Gil 9, Sollano 9, Adeogun 6, Custodio 5, Salcedo 4, Galanza 4, Quinto 3, Saitanan 2, Luib 0, Raymundo 0, Capacio 0.
Period Scores: 19-13, 38-27, 63-43, 81-63.
SANTA LUCIA (87) – Salado 22, Escosio 17, Vidal 12, Cawaling 11, Bangga 10, Romero 5, Ilagan 4, Sanjo 2, Bautista 2, Koga 2, Castanarez 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (75) – Martinez 23, Viernes 14, Oraeme 9, Lopez 7, Arellano 7, Siruma 5, Taganas 3, Mandani 2, Padilla 2, Santos 2, Eguilos 1, Ibay 0.
Period Scores: 21-20, 47-33, 71-57, 87-75.