MALOLOS CITY – Mighty Sports took the first step in capturing a championship in their maiden campaign by taking Game One of the best-of-three championship series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup over Jumbo Plastic, 79-67, Sunday evening (May 22) at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. Despite missing some key players, Mighty Sports turned to their strengths and the support of the home crowd to engineer the victory.
All Mighty Sports needed was a 10-0 run in the first period anchored on two triples by Allan Mangahas to give them the lead for good, 15-7. From there, it total domination as Mighty Sports always had a ready answer to Jumbo Plastic’s attempts to rally.
After Mangahas’ early, it was the turn of Bright Akhuetie to take over as Jumbo Plastic’s Jay-R Taganas incurred two early fouls. With Taganas forced to sit down, the league’s leading scorer asserted his power underneath the hoop to account for 11 points by halftime and push his side ahead further, 34-25.
The best that the Linoleum Giants could do was come to within five points several times, the last coming with 5:46 left in the third period, 35-40. Akhuetie continued his scoring rampage by adding seven more points in the third and despite going scoreless in the final period still finished with 18 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks.
Still, Jumbo Plastic refused to fold and gave it one last try with Jeff Alvin Viernes hitting a triple with 7:27 to go, 56-62. The tough task of playing catch up finally tolled on the Linoleum Giants as Kiefer Ravena presided over Mighty Sports’ final breakaway, hitting his third triple of the game to erect their biggest lead with a good 43 seconds on the clock, 79-65.
“We will go for the championship on Wednesday,” boldly declared Coach Mike Fermin. “We will not take any chances because Jumbo Plastic is no pushover because they won the PCBL Founders Cup last year.”
The young tactician is now on the verge of claiming his biggest prize. Coach Fermin ordered the team to maximize the presence of Akhuetie and Ravena and give them the ball whenever possible to offset the absence of key players Kevin Ferrer and Tyrone Tang.
Ravena shot 15 points in the second half alone to pace Mighty Sports with 20 points and five assists. Gab Banal came off the bench to add 10 points and seven rebounds.
Viernes led the Linoleum Giants with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jaymo Eguilos followed with 10 points and five rebounds.
The Mighty Sports family came in full force complete with drummers and an army of red-shirted supporters. The company has its offices in Malolos City.
Game Two of the series will be on May 25 (Wednesday) in Marikina City starting at 7:00 PM. Euro-Med Laboratories will tangle with Santa Lucia Realty for Third Place at 5:00 PM followed by the awarding ceremonies for the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and other individual achievers.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (79) – Ravena 20, Akhuetie 18, Banal 10, Mangahas 6, Regalado 6, M. Bringas 6, Montilla 4, Celada 4, Lopez 3, A. Bringas 2, Wongchuking 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (67) – Viernes 16, Eguilos 11, Martinez 9, Arellano 7, Arafat 6, Lopez 5, Santos 4, Siruma 4, Ibay 3, Taganas 2, Bitoon 0, Perez 0.
Period Scores: 20-12, 34-25, 56-48, 79-67.