EURO-MED bucked a slow start, pouring its might in the second half to turn back Kama Motors, 73-71, in an exciting playoff match in the PCBL Founders Cup at the JCSGO Gym.
Pari Llagas came off the bench in the second half to score 12 points despite playing with a hamstring injury for Euro-Med, which secured the No. 4 spot in the quarterfinals and a twice-to-beat advantage.
Euro-Med will face the same Kama Motors squad in the quarterfinals of this event supported by Ambucore, Accel, Aquabest, and Spalding.
A former standout of the University of the East and a PBA free agent, Llagas sat out the first half but was inserted by head coach Yong Garcia to provide stability up front.
He also pulled down seven boards while doing the intangibles inside the shaded lane to change the complexion of the game for Euro-Med, which only produced seven points in the first period and trailed by 11, 18-7, entering the second period.
But through the efforts of Mar Villahermosa, Carl Cruz, and Adrian Santos, Euro-Med fought its way back to within a point following a buzzer-beater by Paul Zamar, 31-30, at halftime.
After the break, Euro-Med made a gamble by fielding in a hobbling Llagas, and it immediately paid off. Llagas scored the first basket of the second half that gave Euro-Med its initial taste of the lead and triggered a 12-4 run to give his team a 42-35 lead midway through the third period.
Euro-Med posted its biggest lead of the game, 58-48, off a basket by Aaron Jeruta, but Kama Motors refused staged its own rally as Rudy Lingganay’s free throws sparked a 12-4 spurt that cut the lead to 60-62, with still 3:13 left.
Llagas came through with back-to-back baskets to bring Euro-Med's lead back to 71-66 lead with only 39 seconds remaining.
EURO-MED (73) – Llagas 12, Jeruta 10, Cruz 10, Santos 10, Villahermosa 9, Zamar 6, Custodio 5, de Leon 4, Abundo 4, Cortes 3, Cenal 0, Galanza 0, Alberto 0, Celso 0.
KAMA MOTORS (71) – Montuano 15, Cabrera 13, Cawaling 12, Lingganay 11, Ambulodto 8, Calisaan 6, Ortuoste 4, Argamino 2, Pontejos 0, Lunor 0, Saitanan 0, Ludovice 0.
Quartercores: 7-18, 30-31, 52-47, 73-71.