Jumbo Plastic drubs Sta. Lucia to book outright semis slot in PCBL basketball
Jumbo Plastic players celebrate after securing an automatic semis berth.

JUMBO Plastic dispatched an import-less Sta. Lucia team, 80-61, in their final game in the elimination round at the Marikina Sports Center to book the last automatic semis berth in the PCBL Chairman’s Cup.

The Linoleum Giants joined Mighty Sports in taking a bye in the quarterfinal round and moving onto the semifinals of this tournament supported by Hahn Manila, During’s Barbeque and Restaurant, LGR, Spalding and Ambucore.

Jumbo Plastic, the league's inaugural champion, ended the double round eliminations with an 8-4 record, the second best in the tournament behind Mighty Sports’ 10-2 mark.

Jumbo coach Steven Tiu said securing the No. 2 spot and the outright semis spot is a big achievement for his team, considering the level of competition in the tournament.

“At least we got what we wanted. For me, this campaign is more competitive because of the imports. Nag-beef up rin yung mga teams. On our part, we’ve matured as a team in the second round,” said Tiu.

As expected, Tiu banked on his deadly backcourt combination of Finals MVP Jeff Viernes and ex-pro James Martinez, who both scored 21 points. The two combined for eight of the 10 made three-pointers by Jumbo Plastic.

Meanwhile, Mighty Sports ended its elimination round campaign on a winning note after beating Biyaheng SCTEX, 87-79, in the other game.

Despite missing the services of Kiefer Ravena, who is currently training in the US, Mighty Sports was able to pick up its 10th win in 12 games after drawing solid games from Arvie Bringas and import Bright Akhuetie, who tallied 14 points apiece.

Third-seed SCTEX next battles Sta. Lucia in the best-of-three quarterfinals series, while fourth place Euro-Med slug it out with Foton in the other matchup for the right to meet semifinalists Mighty Sports and Jumbo Plastic. 

Foton and Sta. Lucia ended up tied at fifth and sixth spots with identical 5-7 win-loss cards, but the Toplander got the superior tiebreak by virtue of the win over the other rule, beating the Realtors in both meetings in the elimination round.

The scores:

First game

JUMBO PLASTIC (80) – Viernes 21, Martinez 21, Arafat 10, Lopez 6, Eguilos 6, Taganas 6, Perez 4, Santos 2, Arellano 2, Siruma 2, Bitoon 0, Ibay 0.

SANTA LUCIA (61) – Javelona 14, Escosio 11, Jamito 11, Vidal 7, Bautista 7, Camasura 4, Salado 4, Castanarez 3, Ilagan 0, Gabriel 0, Bangga 0.

Quarterscores: 19-22, 42-32, 61-45, 80-61.

Second game

MIGHTY SPORTS (87) – A. Bringas 14, Akhuetie 14, Montilla 12, Melocoton 12, Ferrer 11, Tang 8, Regalado 6, Mangahas 5, Lopez 5.

BIYAHENG SCTEX (79) – Villarias 21, Batino 13, Akomo 13, Vitug 10, Raymundo 6, del Rosario 6, Reyes 6, Sumalinog 4, Calomot 0, Esmeria 0, Susaya 0, Pangilinan 0.


Quarterscores: 25-26, 45-49, 72-63, 87-79.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph