MARIKINA CITY – Levi Hernandez set a new all-time record for most points in a game as he lifted Foton Toplander over Euro-Med Laboratories in overtime, 79-76, in Game Two of their quarterfinal series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup Sunday (May 8) at the Marikina Sports Center. The Arellano University product unleashed 36 points as Foton evened the best-of-three series at 1-1.
Hernandez hit a triple with 42 seconds left in regulation to deadlock the count at 69-69, his 30th point which already beat the previous record of 28 he set in an 83-93 loss to Caida Tiles on October 30, 2015 in the Founders Cup. After a failed Euro-Med offensive, Hernandez had the chance to win it in regulation but his triple missed the mark.
In the overtime, Eliud Poligrates missed a triple and the long rebound resulted in a breakaway layup for Hernandez with 10 seconds left and breathing space for Foton, 77-73. However, Euro-Med quickly put the ball in play with Jopher Custodio draining a triple with three seconds on the clock, 76-77.
To cap his splendid performance, Hernandez was quickly fouled by Poligrates and sealed the deal with two free throws. With no more timeouts, Euro-Med scrambled as Alex Almario’s desperation heave from midcourt went nowhere.
“Before the game, we discussed how playing for Foton has changed our lives,” said Coach Jonathan Reyes. “We all agreed that since we made it this far in the tournament, we might as well go for it and give it one final push.”
Hernandez actually scored 18 of Foton’s 20 points in the opening period as they trailed, 20-26. He got some help later with Jerick Nacpil coming off the bench to knock in all his eight points in the second period and Ibrahim Ouattara chipping in nine points and 17 rebounds to power Foton’s domination of the boards, 54-38.
Coach Reyes though still believes Foton needs to work harder in the decider this Wednesday (May 11) starting at 5:00 PM at the same venue. This marks the first time this tournament that the Toplander prevailed over Euro-Med, dropping both elimination round games and the series opener last Friday, 73-77.
Poligrates paced Euro-Med with 19 points. Ola Adeogun followed with 14 points and six rebounds while Lester Alvarez added 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Waiting for the winner of the series is top seed Mighty Sports, which earned an automatic berth in the semifinals. The other outright semifinalist and second seed Jumbo Plastic will play the winner of the other quarterfinal series between Biyaheng SCTEX and Santa Lucia Realty.
How They Scored:
FOTON (79) – Hernandez 36, Ouattara 9, Nacpil 8, Ablaza 7, Reyes 6, Enriquez 6, Gomez 5, Rivera 2, Moraga 0.
EURO-MED (76) – Poligrates 19, Adeogun 14, Alvarez 11, Custodio 8, Tajonera 8, Parala 8, Capacio 5, Salamat 2, Almario 1, Salcedo 0, Saitanan 0.
Period Scores: 20-26, 36-38, 49-54, 69-69 (reg.), 79-76 (OT).