EGAY Billones nailed a three-pointer as time expired as Sea Lions brought down erstwhile unbeaten Wang's Ballclub, 81-80, recently to clinch top seed and an outright semifinal berth in the 2014 MBL Open basketball championship at the PUP gym in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
The former PBA player received a perfectly-timed pass from Ricky Ricafuente on the right corner and drilled the game-winner over the outstretched arms of veteran Mar Reyes to help the Sea Lions score their fifth win in six matches and secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.
Billones' heroics came after former University of the East Red Warrior Keith Resopa scored on a reverse lay-up to give Wang's Ballclub an 80-78 lead with less than two seconds left.
The 38-year-old Billones finished with a game-high 30 points, including 18 in the fourth period where he made four three-pointers.
Former University of Makati standout Toto Mangaran added 25 points, while Ricafuente scored 11.
Resopa led Wang's Ballclub with 21 points, while guard Eric Acuna was held to just one point.
Our Lady of Fatima University outplayed Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 70-52, to move into a tie with Lyceum of the Philippines University at 3-2 in the seven-team tournament supported by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Dickies Underwear, PRC Couriers and Zucchero Sports Bar.
Four players, led by Paul John Pineda and Miguel Bryan Cabrera, scored in double figures for the Phoenix.
Harley David Santos and Sherwin Perez finished with 12 points apiece for the Stars.
Our Lady of Fatima (70) — Pineda 14, Cabrera 12, Mallari 11, Flores 10, Banaria 6,
Cruz 6, Marquez 4, JImenez 2, Gallardo 2, Matignas 2, Datu 1.
PUP (52) — Santos 12, Perez 12, Are 8, Martinez 8, Bondoc 5, Mangulbnan 3, Manden 2, Sta. Maria 1. Saldana 1, Najor 0, Flores 0.
Quarterscores: 19-12; 34-23; 56-37; 70-52.
Sea Lions (81) — Billones 30, Mangaran 25, Ricafuente 11, Gillen 5, Brown 4, Bautista 3, Raymundo 2, Siruma 1, Villareal 0.
Wang's Balllclub (80) — Resopa 21, Ingco 18, Montuano 15, Ferrer 10, Reyes 8, Camacho 4, Castro 3, Acuna 1, Pabillano 0, Lina 0.
Quarterscores: 15-23; 42-44; 57-59; 81-80.