MARIKINA CITY – Mighty Sports leaned on a second period explosion by Kiefer Ravena and claimed the first seat in the championship series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup by eliminating Euro-Med Laboratories, 98-87, Wednesday (May 18) at the Marikina Sports Center. The top seeds swept the best-of-three series after taking Game One, 99-84, last Sunday (May 15).
Showing no effects of jetlag from an early morning flight from the United States and arriving straight from a workout with the national team, Ravena scored 12 of his 17 points in the pivotal period, including back-to-back triples that gave Mighty the lead for good, 41-40. Euro-Med was in control, 38-29, when Bright Akhuetie scored on a dunk to trigger Mighty’s furious windup to the first half that was capped by Akhuetie’s buzzer-beating stab, 51-42.
Playing without top scorer Ola Adeogun and Coach Yong Garcia due to suspensions arising from misconduct in Game One, Euro-Med with acting coach Ernani Epondulan came out of the gates inspired as Eric Salamat and Lester Alvarez combined for five triples en route to 17 points as they seized the first period, 29-19. The celebration was short-lived as Ravena and Akhuetie made their move in the second period.
Suddenly, it was a different Euro-Med in the second half as they allowed Mighty to open the third with a 14-2 flurry, 65-44. Ravena was not yet done as he drained another triple to give Mighty its biggest advantage nearing the close of the third to literally settle the issue, 83-55.
Just like in Game One, the role players finished the game with Alex Almario, Marte Gil and Ralph Salcedo managed to whittle the final margin to a more respectable level. Euro-Med will now go to a one-game playoff for Third Place against the loser of the other semifinal series between Jumbo Plastic and Santa Lucia Realty.
“As a new team, our goal was simple and win as many games as possible,” said Coach Mike Fermin. “Kiefer has high basketball IQ so even if he was away from the team for a time, he knows our system well and fit in immediately.”
Akhuetie set a new personal record of 33 points on top 14 rebounds and two steals. Gab Banal chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists to compensate for the scoreless effort of Game One hero Kevin Ferrer.
Salamat shook off foul trouble to pace Euro-Med with 15 points but was held scoreless in the fourth. Alvarez could not follow up his early explosion by going scoreless also in the second half but still finished with 13 points.
The best-of-three championship series will commence on Sunday (May 22) at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. Game Two will be on May 25 (Wednesday) in Marikina and if needed, Game Three will be on May 27 (Friday) also at Marikina.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (98) – Akhuetie 33, Ravena 17, Banal 13, Montilla 6, Wongchuking 6, Melocoton 5, A. Bringas 4, M. Bringas 4, Celada 3, Tang 3, Mangahas 2, Lopez 2, Regalado 0, Ferrer 0.
EURO-MED (87) – Salamat 15, Alvarez 13, Almario 11, Salcedo 8, Gil 8, Custodio 7, Saitanan 6, Llagas 6, Poligrates 6, Tajonera 3, Galanza 2, Parala 2, Capacio 0.
Period Scores: 19-29, 51-42, 83-59, 98-87.