MARIKINA CITY – Santa Lucia Realty rode on the torrid shooting of Jett Vidal and Jerald Bautista and fought off an almost-monumental collapse to defeat Jumbo Plastic, 68-62, and force a winner-take-all Game Three in their semifinal series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup at the Marikina Sports Center Wednesday evening (May 18). The duo combined for eight triples, just enough cushion to hold the fort for the Realtors amidst the Linoleum Giants fourth period rally.
“Before the game, I saw the composure in the players’ eyes that they really wanted to forget about Game One and bounce back and win today,” said Coach Joseph Gumatay. “Aside from the shooting, the energy they displayed on defense today was amazing.”
Vidal did his most damage in the second period as he fired four triples and Bautista added another for good measure to power the Realtors’ breakaway and build a solid 44-34 halftime lead. Bautista would then connect on two more triples in the third period, the second one coming just before the buzzer for their biggest lead of the game, 59-44.
The hot shooting turned cold as both Vidal and Bautista could not find the hoop in the fourth. As the entire Santa Lucia team struggled, birthday celebrant Jeff Alvin Viernes and James Martinez hit consecutive triples to signal Jumbo Plastic’s intense fight back. Martinez would sink another triple followed by a dunk by Moustapha Arafat to put Jumbo Plastic within striking distance, 62-65, and 51 seconds left to play.
Unfortunately, the comeback effort fell short as the Linoleum Giants’ next offensives turned up empty, forcing them to give up fouls to stop the clock. Kent Salado and Wowie Escosio proceeded to secure the win from the free throw line as the Realtors were outscored in the final period, 9-18.
Vidal paced Santa Lucia with 15 points, all coming from the three-point line. Bautista followed with 13 points and nine rebounds while Landry Sanjo had nine points and 12 rebounds.
True to Coach Gumatay’s observations, the Realtors outhustled their opponents by getting more offensive rebounds, 23-13. They also had more second chance points, 15-7.
Martinez was the high man for Jumbo Plastic with 15. None of his teammates had twin figures with Arafat and Jay-R Taganas churning out nine markers each and 13 combined rebounds.
Jumbo Plastic took Game One, 94-89, last Sunday (May 15) at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. The deciding Game Three will be this Friday (May 20) at Marikina City starting at 6:00 PM.
How They Scored:
SANTA LUCIA (68) – Vidal 15, Bautista 13, Escosio 9, Sanjo 9, Camasura 7, Salado 5, Jamito 4, Javelona 2, Gabriel 2, Bangga 2, Castanarez 0, Ilagan 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (62) – Martinez 15, Taganas 9, Arafat 9, Eguilos 8, Viernes 6, Bitoon 5, Siruma 5, Arellano 3, Lopez 2, Santos 0, Perez 0.
Period Scores: 17-15, 44-34, 59-44, 68-62.