CEBU – The San Fernando Spartans pulled out all the stops down the stretch to defeat the Minglanilla Archangels, 65-62, in Game Three and capture the championship in the Samsam Gullas Cup basketball tournament on Sunday night at the packed Minglanilla Sports Complex.
Ranged against a hostile crowd and a Minglanilla squad that sought to make up for its finals loss in this very same tournament last year, the Spartans turned to Ronald Geraldino who sank the go-ahead bucket and a free-throw inside the game’s final minute to deliver the title to the Municipality of San Fernando.
Jhon Soreso led the Spartans with 18 points and seven rebounds while guard Jimwell Bolo put up all-around numbers of 14 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Geraldino and Jhonson Saramosing, who was named Finals MVP, had 10 points each with the latter adding three assists and three steals in spite being the focal point of Minglanilla’s defense all game long.
The Archangels led by nine at halftime, 37-28, as Mark Caparas came off the bench and sparked a 7-0 close to the second period.
But the Spartans roared back in the third behind Saramosing who scored all 10 of his points in that stretch to put his team in front by as much as nine, 57-46, before settling for a three-point lead, 53-50, heading to the last canto.
The Archangels grabbed back the upper hand, 62-61, after a baseline jumper from Clint Basister and even had a chance to increase it after the latter had a clear and open lane on a two against one fastbreak. However, Basister inexplicably missed the wide-open lay-up.
Geraldino then made sure to make Minglanilla pay as he sank a short jumper from the corner to give San Fernando back the lead, 63-62, with 37.6 seconds remaining.
After a turnover by Minglanilla forward Lyle Eredera, Bolo raised San Fernando’s lead to two by splitting his charities. The Archangels then gained a shot to tie the game after Cristian Castro was fouled on his way to the rack.
But Castro, who made two free-throws with three seconds left to lift the Archangels past the Spartans in Game 1, could not replicate his heroics as he flubbed both freebies.
Minglanilla however, regained possession after Caparas stole the ball from Saramosing with 14.4 seconds left. But they could not take advantage as Steve Nash Enriquez’s inbound pass could not find the mark that led to a made free-throw by Geraldino for a 65-62 lead with 9.3 ticks to go.
Caparas led Minglanilla with 15 points, Basister had 11 while Castro finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Enriquez, the 15-year-old wonderboy who was named MVP of this tournament, had seven points, six boards, and three assists.