MARIKINA CITY – Jumbo Plastic inflicted the first defeat of Mighty Sports, 74-73, at the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup Friday (April 15) at the Marikina Sports Center. Prior to the game, Mighty had won all their seven games in convincing fashion to pace the seven-team league.
Jay-R Taganas, Jeff Alvin Viernes and Marcy Arellano hit the crucial fourth period baskets that gave the Linoleum Giants the lead for good while stretching it to a commanding 74-69 tally with 10 seconds left to play. Don’t tell that to Mighty Sports.
Kiefer Ravena hit a booming top of the key triple that trimmed their deficit, 72-74, while taking away only three ticks from the clock. Coach Stevenson Tiu called a timeout but his plans went to naught as Ravena stole the inbound pass, forcing Stephen Siruma to chase and foul the driving Ravena with a second remaining.
The Linoleum Giants and their supporters heaved a sigh of relief as Ravena missed the first free throw! He made the second but it hardly mattered as Jumbo dribbled the time away.
Free throw woes were a key factor in the close game as Mighty made only 13 of their 25 attempts. Ravena accounted for two out of seven against Jumbo after shooting a solid 22 out of 24 in their first seven wins.
Viernes continued to pace Jumbo with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists. James Martinez followed with 13 points while Taganas was rock solid on defense with 16 rebounds to go with nine markers.
Jumbo was able to avenge their 70-79 setback to Mighty on opening day last March 6 and raise their win-loss card to 5-4, good for Second Place. In that game, the Linoleum Giants were well in control until collapsing in the fourth period, something Coach Tiu has taken notice of.
“This time we made sure that this will not be a repeat of opening day,” said Coach Tiu. “Our plan was simple – let the players enjoy the game.”
Bright Akhuetie had another double-double of 20 points and 21 rebounds. Ravena finished with 14 while Keven Ferrer added 11.
Mighty missed head coach Mike Fermin who was attending the ongoing Palarong Pambansa in Albay. In his place, assistant coach Charles Tiu called the shots.
The fall of Mighty clearly sent shockwaves throughout the league. Meanwhile, Euro-Med Laboratories silently assumed the role of the PCBL’s hottest team by dismantling Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU, 75-65, to up their winning run to four games.
“We still have to correct our problem of starting slow,” said Coach Yong Garcia. “The players were complaining about the heat in the gym but I told them that their opponents are also experiencing the same thing so just play your game.”
As the sun set by the second half, the heat dissipated and Euro-Med made its move. Ola Adeogun pounded the inside and Jopher Custodio hit a pair of corner triples from the same spot to give them their first hold on the lead, 44-43.
Supremo Lex proved to be a tough customer as Mark Brana, Mark Montuano, Hamadou Laminou and King Importante tried their best to keep the Builders afloat. Euro-Med saw enough as Adeogun completed a three-point play that put them ahead for good with still 5:24 to go, 65-63, while igniting a 13-2 closing run as Supremo Lex simply folded.
Adeogun topped Euro-Med with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow starter Eric Salamat scored 15 points while Custodio came off the bench for 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Brana was the high man for the Builders with 17 points and six rebounds while Montuano was next with 13 points. The Builders’ losing streak now extends to seven games for a 1-7 card and last place in the standings.
PCBL games on Sunday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center will pit struggling sides Santa Lucia Realty and Biyaheng SCTEX at 5:00 PM followed by the main game between Mighty Sports and Foton Toplander at 7:00 PM. Santa Lucia will be handled by interim coach Joseph Gumatay after the team announced the relief of Coach Boni Garcia.
How They Scored:
EURO-MED (75) – Adeogun 17, Salamat 15, Custodio 10, Llagas 9, Capacio 7, Alvarez 7, Poligrates 5, Almario 3, Salcedo 2, Saitanan 0, Galanza 0, Tajonera 0, Parala 0.
SUPREMO LEX-OLFU (65) – Brana 17, Montuano 13, Jamon 11, Laminou 10, Importante 7, Villamin 3, Marquez 2, Leynes 2, Acidre 0, Cabrera 0.
Period Scores: 18-20, 34-40, 57-55, 75-65.
JUMBO PLASTIC (74) – Viernes 19, Martinez 13, Arafat 11, Taganas 9, Arellano 8, Siruma 6, Eguilos 4, Santos 4, Bitoon 0, Ibay 0.
MIGHTY SPORTS (73) – Akhuetie 20, Ravena 14, Ferrer 11, Mangahas 7, Tang 5, Lopez 5, Regalado 3, Celada 3, Wongchuking 2, M. Bringas 2, A. Bringas 1, Banal 0.
Period Scores: 20-18, 37-30, 55-52, 74-73.