MARIKINA CITY – Biyaheng SCTEX drew big second half performances from Christopher Sumalinog and Pamboy Raymundo to eke out a 70-67 victory over Euro-Med Laboratories in the penultimate playing day of the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup Friday (April 29) at the Marikina Sports Center. The win thus kept the Road Warriors’ hopes of landing an outright semifinal berth alive while relegating Euro-Med to the fourth seeding.
Raymundo tied the game for the last time via two free throws, 63-63, and then hit back-to-back field goals with Sumalinog for a 67-63 edge with 1:30 to go. Raymundo padded the lead further with a free throw off a technical foul on Euro-Med Coach Yong Garcia for excessive complaining, 68-63.
Suddenly, Eliud Poligrates rallied Euro-Med by attacking the basket and drawing fouls, slowly chipping away at their deficit from free throw stripe, 66-68. Sumalinog was then called for a five-second inbound violation, with Coach Adonis Tierra and team manager Ronald Dulatre getting assessed consecutive technicals for protesting what they perceived as a fast count.
Poligrates could only make one of his two charities to close in, 67-68, but Euro-Med had 25 seconds to work with. The Road Warriors’ defense saved the day as they broke up the play and Sumalinog broke away from the loose ball scramble for the insurance layup at the seven-second mark, 70-67.
Out of timeouts, Euro-Med had no choice but to scramble to put the ball in play with Lester Alvarez and Gwyne Capacio missing from the three-point line as the horn sounded. So intense was the game that security and league officials had to separate Ola Adeogun and Alfred Batino after the two went at each other as the teams retreated to their dugouts.
“We played bad today but I am still happy for the win,” said Coach Tierra. “Our goal remains one of the two automatic semifinal spots so we will give it our best effort in our last game against Mighty Sports.”
SCTEX survived a tumultuous second period that saw Raul Soyud getting ejected together with Euro-Med’s Jeffrey Tajonera for fighting and Borgie Hermida leaving after twisting his right knee. Thankfully, Sumalinog and Raymundo worked extra hard to fill the sudden void in the rotation.
Sumalinog powered the Road Warriors with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Raymundo chipped in 13 points and five rebounds. Also contributing big were Steve Akomo and Batino with similar numbers of 12 points and eight rebounds each as they stretched their winning streak to four games for a 7-4 win-loss record in a tie with idle Jumbo Plastic.
Poligrates exploded for 11 of his 22 points in the fourth period but it was not enough as Euro-Med finished the elimination round with an even 6-6 card. Adeogun followed 15 points and nine rebounds.
In the curtain-raiser, Foton Toplander gained momentum entering the playoffs by exacting revenge on Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU, 72-63. Foton ended its elimination schedule at 5-7, good for the sixth seed and a half-game behind Santa Lucia Realty (5-6).
Foton was the only team to suffer a defeat at the hands of the Builders, 88-92, in both clubs’ debut last March 9. Since then, the Builders lost all their remaining games for a PCBL record 11-game losing skid and elimination from the playoffs.
Levi Hernandez accounted for nine of his 22 points in the fourth period to key the win. The Builders threatened slightly at the start of the fourth, 55-56, but this was quickly neutralized by 7-2 run anchored on three Hernandez baskets to give Foton a solid 63-57 cushion with still five minutes to play.
Cedric Ablaza and Ibrahim Ouattara also stamped Foton’s domination in the paint against the smaller Buillders. Ablaza had 16 points and 11 rebounds while Ouattara added eight points and 15 rebounds.
“I keep on telling the players to remain positive and we can beat the top teams despite our low playoff seeding,” said Coach Jonathan Reyes. “If you look at our games, a lot were close and decided only by the breaks.”
John Rovin Datu and Andrei Albano paced Supremo Lex with 13 points each. Jan Jamon added 10 markers.
The final playoff seedings will be decided on the last day of elimination play this Wednesday (May 4) in Marikina City. Jumbo Plastic (7-4) goes up against Santa Lucia (5-6) at 5:00 PM followed by SCTEX (7-4) testing early semifinalist Mighty Sports (9-2) at 7:00 PM.
How They Scored:
FOTON TOPLANDER (72) – Hernandez 22, Ablaza 15, Reyes 8, Ouattara 8, Rivera 8, Gomez 6, Enriquez 2, Mallari 2, Moraga 0, Penaflor 0, Nacpil 0.
SUPREMO LEX-OLFU (63) – Albano 13, Datu 13, Jamon 10, Acidre 9, Brana 7, Cabrera 5, Montuano 4, Gozum 2, Bargola 0, Villamin 0.
Period Scores: 21-12, 41-32, 56-53, 72-63.
BIYAHENG SCTEX (70) – Sumalinog 15, Raymundo 13, Batino 12, Akomo 12, Villarias 9, del Rosario 4, Reyes 3, Soyud 2, Susaya 0, Vitug 0, Hermida 0, Pangilinan 0.
EURO-MED (67) – Poligrates 22, Adeogun 15, Llagas 10, Custodio 6, Salamat 5, Alvarez 5, Almario 2, Capacio 2, Salcedo 0, Galanza 0, Tajonera 0, Parala 0.
Period Scores: 20-23, 38-39, 51-52, 70-67.