JUMBO Plastic outlasted Sta. Lucia Realty, 71-69, in their rubber match on Monday night, to arrange a best-of-three finals duel with Caida Tiles in the PCBL Founders Cup at the JCSGO Gym.
The Linoleum Giants fought back from an eight-point deficit in the third period then turned to their ex-pros Alvin Padilla, James Martinez and Marcy Arellano for the important baskets down the stretch to win back-to-back games against the Realtors and earn the right to face the Tile Masters in the finals starting on Wednesday at the Malolos City Sports and Convention Center at 7 p.m.
Sta. Lucia’s Jhaps Bautista had a chance to tie the game with three free throws, with two seconds left, but missed the first shot, made the second and deliberately missed the third try. His teammate Jun Gabriel was able to get the rebound but couldn’t take a good shot as time expired.
Jaymo Eiugilos and Mark Lopez finished with 15 points apiece to make up for the subpar game of MVP candidate JR Taganas, who got into foul trouble early.
Jeff Viernes contributed 13 and Padilla chipped in 10 for Jumbo Plastic, which was beaten in the battle of the boards by Sta. Lucia (37 to 27), but had five less turnovers than its rival.
“Yun ang sinasabi kong character. Ang sabi ko kung gusto niyong mag-champion we have to win this game no matter what and lumabas yung character ng team,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Stephenson Tiu.
Mac Montilla led the Realtors with 19 points, including a three-pointer midway the third period that gave his team a 45-37 lead.
Jumbo Plastic 71 - M. Lopez 15, Eguilos 15, Viernes 13, Padilla 10, Martinez 7, Arellano 4, Taganas 4, J. Lopez 3, Mandani 0, Acosta 0.
Sta. Lucia 69 – Montilla 19, Escosio 12, Ilagan 12, Salado 8, Bautista 7, Onwubere 5, Gabriel 4, Celiz 2, Camasura 0, Wetherell 0, Vidal 0, Sarangay 0.
Quarterscores: 18-20; 31-32; 49-52; 71-69.
Photo 1 -- Members of the Jumbo Plastic squad celebrate after winning the series over Sta. Lucia
Photo 2 -- James Martinez of Jumbo Plastic tries to go for the loose ball against Jett Vidal and Jhaps Bautista of Sta. Lucia as teammate Alvin Padilla prepares to help out.