MARIKINA CITY – Euro-Med Laboratories picked up a morale-boosting win over Foton Toplander in overtime, 84-79, in the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup Friday (April 22) at the Marikina Sports Center. Both sides were coming off heartbreaking losses and needed the win to break away from the tight race for playoff positions with eight games left on the schedule.
Euro-Med’s Alex Almario sent the game into overtime by converting two of his three free throws after he was fouled by Levi Hernandez with 0.28 of a second left. Almario could have won the game outright had he sank the second attempt.
In the overtime, Ola Adeogun and Pari Llagas took advantage of Foton’s suddenly thin frontline after an injury to Ed Rivera and the disqualification on fouls of Ibrahim Ouattara. Llagas provided the go-ahead basket with 42 seconds to play, 79-77, and Eliud Poligrates and Adeogun secured the win from the free throw stripe.
Down by five in regulation, 65-70, Jopher Custodio got things going with a triple with seven ticks remaining, 68-70. Jerrick Nacpil was then fouled but he missed both his free throws to set the stage for Almario’s only points albeit very crucial points of the game.
Euro-Med started strong by racing to a 10-0 lead behind Ralph Salcedo and Lester Alvarez. However, Foton turned to Hernandez to power a 28-6 counterattack that spanned the first and second period as they threatened to turn the game into a rout – until Euro-Med patiently rallied and made their move in the fourth.
Adeogun paced Euro-Med with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Poligrates unloaded 20 to break out of his three-game scoring slump wherein he averaged 2.3 points.
Hernandez, the scoring champion of last year’s Founders Cup, came out with a personal high of 25 points but it was not enough as Foton slipped to 4-6. Cedric Ablaza followed with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Euro-Med lost to Jumbo Plastic two days ago on a late four-point play by Jayson Ibay, 72-75. Foton was denied by Mighty Sports last week thanks to a buzzer-beating triple by Kiefer Ravena in overtime, 83-84.
In the nightcap, an all-Filipino Santa Lucia Realty formally eliminated Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU from playoff contention, 84-79. The Builders absorbed their ninth straight defeat after winning their opener against Foton, 92-88, last March 9.
With their tournament lives on the line, the Builders played with urgency and took the first half, 39-36, with Hamadou Laminou and Brian Cabrera with seven points each. That was until Jam Jamito went to work in the second half.
Entering the final two minutes, the Realtors were ahead by only two when Jamito tipped in the missed free throw of Jerald Bautista for some breathing space, 75-71. He then continued by completing a three-point play that gave Santa Lucia a secure 78-73 advantage at the 47-second mark which was never relinquished and ended the Realtors’ three-game losing skid.
Jamito scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half on top of 11 rebounds. Jett Vidal hit six triples in the first half to lead all scorers with 21 points.
Laminou was the top man for the Builders with 19 points and nine rebounds. He was followed by King Importante with 12 and Jan Jamon with 11.
Coach Joseph Gumatay still called the shots for Santa Lucia as newly-hired Coach Bong de la Cruz opted to sit down and observe. Prince Eze missed the game due to injury thus prompting the team to put fellow Nigerian Ik Akpuru of the Technological Institute of the Philippines on standby as a possible replacement import.
The hunt for playoff position continues on Sunday (April 24) at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center with Foton battling Biyaheng SCTEX at an earlier starting time of 4:00 PM. The main game at 6:00 PM is between the Realtors and league leader Mighty Sports.
How They Scored:
EURO-MED (84) – Adeogun 21, Poligrates 20, Custodio 14, Llagas 12, Salcedo 6, Alvarez 4, Salamat 3, Almario 2, Parala 2, Gil 0, Saitanan 0, Tajonera 0.
FOTON TOPLANDER (79) – Hernandez 25, Ablaza 18, Ouattara 9, Rivera 8, Nacpil 6, Enriquez 5, Moraga 4, Gomez 4, Mallari 0.
Period Scores: 16-17, 27-38, 46-54, 70-70 (reg.), 84-79 (OT).
SANTA LUCIA (80) – Vidal 21, Jamito 19, Escosio 13, Bangga 12, Bautista 9, Javelona 3, Castanarez 2, Salado 1, Camasura 0, Ilagan 0, Gabriel 0.
SUPREMO LEX-OLFU (76) – Laminou 19, Importante 12, Jamon 11, Cabrera 9, Acidre 7, Brana 6, Marquez 6, Montuano 2, Gozum 2, Leynes 2, Villamin 0.
Period Scores: 16-10, 39-36, 59-59, 80-76.