SAN Juan finished off Quezon City, 106-81, on Thursday night to reach the championship round of the MPBL Datu Cup North Division.
Backed by their hometown crowd, the Knights played true to their potential and drew the firepower from veterans Mac Cardona and John Wilson in ousting the Capitals from the playoff race,
After sweeping its best-of-three semifinal series, San Juan arranged a date with the winner of the Bataan-Manila do-or-die showdown on Monday night.
Manila kept its hopes alive by outlasting Bataan, 80-76, in the other game, thanks to a defense that worked double time to frustrate the Risers.
Chris Bitoon, Mark Lopez and the other guards put the pressure on Bataan’s ball carriers as Manila picked up six steals and forces its rivals to commit 17 turnovers, resulting in 17 turnover points.
Aris Dionisio led the way with 23 points, with 15 of them coming in the second half.
Riel Cervantes also stepped up in the second half, producing 10 of his 14 points, while Marcy Arellano completed a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Bitoon scored seven of his 12 markers in the fourth period.
Cardona knocked in 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field. He also dished out eight assists and pulled down seven rebounds in a vintage performance.
Wilson, on the other hand, added 19 markers, six rebounds and four assists.
The Knights shot 47 percent from the field (42-of-88) and 45 percent from rainbow territory (11-of-24) while holding down the Capitals to just 33 percent shooting (28-of-83).
San Juan grabbed 64 rebounds, 26 more than Quezon City.