MARIKINA CITY – Jumbo Plastic captured the second and last outright semifinal slot in the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup thanks to a clinical 80-61 demolition of Santa Lucia Realty Wednesday (May 4) at the Marikina Sports Center. The result rendered the second game non-bearing as Mighty Sports capped its maiden campaign by taking down Biyaheng SCTEX, 87-79, and top the elimination round with 10 wins against only two losses.
Bucking a slow start, the Linoleum Giants banked on a strong second period with substitute Jeff Alvin Viernes knocking in eight points and big men Moustapha Arafat and Jaymo Eguilos added four points each as Jumbo outscored the Realtors, 23-10, and lead for good by halftime, 42-32. Viernes was not yet done as he returned in the fourth to pump in six consecutive Jumbo points and build their biggest lead, 73-49.
“We matured in the second round,” said Coach Stevenson Tiu. “Compared to our championship in last year’s Founders Cup, this conference is more competitive because of the presence of imports and the teams have beefed up their rosters.”
True to Coach Tiu’s word, the Linoleum Giants ended the eliminations with a five-game winning streak after dropping their second round opener against Foton Toplander for an overall 8-4 card. The Realtors fell to 5-7 all the way to sixth place after Foton (5-7) earned the fifth spot due to its two victories over the Realtors in the eliminations, 70-62 and 86-72.
The quarterfinal pairings will be Euro-Med (6-6) battling Foton (5-7) and Biyaheng SCTEX (7-5) tackling Santa Lucia (5-7). Both series will be best-of-three affairs starting this Friday (May 6) at the Marikina Sports Center.
Viernes and James Martinez paced Jumbo with 21 points each, with Martinez hitting 11 in the first and 10 in the third period. This is the highest total for the prolific duo since they combined for 44 in a 79-68 blasting of Foton last March 30.
Paolo Javelona led the Realtors with 14 points, including a triple just before the buzzer to settle the final tally. Jam Jamito and Wowie Escosio were the other Realtors in twin digits with 11 points each.
Mighty Sports 10-2
Jumbo Plastic 8-4
Biyaheng SCTEX 7-5
Euro-Med Laboratories 6-6
Foton Toplander 5-7
Santa Lucia Realty 5-7
Supremo Lex Builders-OLFU 1-11
Meanwhile, an undermanned Mighty Sports paid no attention to the implications of the first game’s result and still played with all-out effort. Freewheeling and lax in the first half, Mighty turned it up a gear in the second half behind Bright Akhuetie, Arvie Bringas and Kevin Ferrer.
“Our team president Dr. John Sy challenged the players to win five games to become champions and that included today’s game,” said Coach Mike Fermin. “Today’s game was a battle for pride and a psychological advantage entering the playoffs.”
Playing without team leader Kiefer Ravena and key players Gab Banal, Mark Bringas and Andrian Celada, all the nine players fielded by Coach Fermin contributed five points or more with five hitting twin digits. “Kiefer has no sure return date from his United States training so we are preparing for his absence perhaps all the way to the finals if we make it,” added Coach Fermin, who also bared that veteran guard Tyrone Tang has committed to devote more time to the team as they make their playoff push.
Mighty Sports grabbed the upper hand for good after a three-point play by Akhuetie in the third period, 59-57. Akhuetie made sure that the Road Warriors would never threaten by scattering seven points in the fourth to end up with 14 points and 12 rebounds with Arvie adding 14 points as well.
Byron Villarias paced SCTEX with 21 points. Alfred Batino and Steve Akomo chipped in 13 markers each.
Both Coach Tiu and Coach Fermin are scheduling one or two tune up matches versus separate opponents while waiting for their semifinal rivals. The semifinals and championship series are likewise best-of-three affairs.
How They Scored:
JUMBO PLASTIC (80) – Viernes 21, Martinez 21, Arafat 10, Lopez 6, Eguilos 6, Taganas 6, Perez 4, Santos 2, Arellano 2, Siruma 2, Bitoon 0, Ibay 0.
SANTA LUCIA (61) – Javelona 14, Escosio 11, Jamito 11, Vidal 7, Bautista 7, Camasura 4, Salado 4, Castanarez 3, Ilagan 0, Gabriel 0, Bangga 0.
Period Scores: 19-22, 42-32, 61-45, 80-61.
MIGHTY SPORTS (87) – A. Bringas 14, Akhuetie 14, Montilla 12, Melocoton 12, Ferrer 11, Tang 8, Regalado 6, Mangahas 5, Lopez 5.
BIYAHENG SCTEX (79) – Villarias 21, Batino 13, Akomo 13, Vitug 10, Raymundo 6, del Rosario 6, Reyes 6, Sumalinog 4, Calomot 0, Esmeria 0, Susaya 0, Pangilinan 0.
Period Scores: 25-26, 45-49, 72-63, 87-79.