CEBU – Left-handed Lyle Eredera hit a clutch triple and Cristian Castro sank two pressure free throws with two seconds left to lift the Minglanilla Archangels to a miraculous 71-70 win over the San Fernando Spartans in Game One of the Samsam Gullas Cup 2017 finals.
Things looked bleak for the Archangels, who were down by four, 66-70, with nine seconds left on Thursday night at the jampacked Minglanilla Sports Complex. However, they caught a break when San Fernando inexplicably called a timeout, giving Minglanilla an opportunity to draw up a play.
The Archangels took advantage as the ball made its way to Eredera who rose from the right wing and rattled one from downtown to trim the deficit to one, 69-70, time down to seven seconds.
With no more timeouts remaining, San Fernando got the ball to Jhonson Saramosing who threw an errant outlet pass. In the ensuing chase for the looseball, San Fernando was called for a looseball foul with two seconds left.
With San Fernando already in the penalty situation, Castro strode to the line and coolly made both to put Minglanilla in front, 71-70.
The Spartans had one last shot to save a meltdown but Shaun Toquero’s heave from midcourt fell short as time expired, giving the Archangels the rousing victory.
Minglanilla will try to complete a sweep of the title series in Game Two on Friday, this time at the San Fernando Sports Complex.
Eredera finished with a huge double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds. Edriane Laspuna added 15 points and eight boards while wonderboy guard Steve Nash Enriquez had an off night and had just 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field.
The Rookie of the Year and Mythical Five awardee however, had five rebounds, three assists and five steals.
Jhon Soreso led the way for San Fernando with 17 points while Toquero finished with 14. Saramosing, a Mythical Five member, had just 13 and turned the ball over a whopping eight times.