MARIKINA CITY – Euro-Med Laboratories got big contributions from guards Eliud Poligrates and Lester Alvarez and forward Jopher Custodio when it mattered most as they tamed dangerous Foton Toplander, 77-73, in Game One of their best-of-three quarterfinal series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup Friday (May 6). Game Two is set for Sunday (May 8) at the same venue starting at 5:00 PM.
Battling from the game’s final deadlock of 63-63 courtesy of a Marlon Gomez three-point play, Custodio scored on back-to-back reverse stabs and Alvarez tipped in a missed Poligrates free throw to hold off Foton’s repeated rallies. Custodio would then split his charities at the nine-second mark to open the door for Foton, 76-73, but Mikee Reyes missed the potential game-tying triple with Custodio grabbing the defensive rebound plus a foul to settle the final tally via another free throw with less than a second on the clock.
“We almost lost because of a lot of lapses in our fourth period execution, good thing Poligrates began all that scoring to save us,” opined Coach Yong Garcia. “Foton is one team that should not be taken lightly because they have given the higher-ranked teams a hard time.”
For Coach Garcia, their twin victories over Foton in the elimination round – 93-81 and 84-79 – are now meaningless in the playoffs. Come Game Two, Euro-Med will try to end the series to avoid complications and get an early preparation for a semifinal encounter with top seed Mighty Sports.
Ola Adeogun carried the fight for Euro-Med through the first three periods with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Nigerian behemoth then went silent in the fourth period but this was made up by Alvarez who finished with 16 points and Poligrates who chipped in 14 points.
Gomez paced Foton with 23 points and seven assists off the bench. Levi Hernandez followed with 13 points and four rebounds.
How They Scored:
EURO-MED (77) – Adeogun 20, Alvarez 16, Poligrates 14, Parala 11, Custodio 8, Almario 2, Capacio 2, Almario 2, Salamat 2, Salcedo 0, Gil 0, Galanza 0.
FOTON TOPLANDER (73) – Gomez 23, Hernandez 14, Reyes 13, Rivera 11, Ablaza 5, Ouattara 5, Nacpil 2, Enriquez 0.
Period Scores: 14-16, 33-36, 53-50, 77-73.