PAGADIAN, Zamboanga del Sur ‒ Fifth-ranked Zamboanga City and No. 4 seed Petra Cement-Roxas drew first blood in the first phase of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup best-of-three semifinals by downing their respective rivals Sunday at the City Gymnasium here.
Banking heavily on the heady plays of veterans Marc Cardona, Fran Yu and Jerome Ferrer, the JPS survived second seed Clarin, 70-68, while the Roxas Vanguards used their pesky defense down the stretch to hack out a 78-67 win over Pagadian.
Ferrer broke a 66-all count with four straight points – thanks to perfect passes of Cardona and Yu.
But the Clarin Sto. Nino refused to give up the fight just like that and threatened anew at 70-68 on two free throws by Joseph Eriobu.
They even had one final chance to tie or win the game with a three-pointer with 19.2 ticks to go after the JPS committed a 24-second shot clock violation.
But they blew their chance when Carlo Lastimosa was forced to take a well-defended triple which hit just the lip of the ring. John Wilson grabbed the offensive board but was not able to attempt a shot as time expired.
“Our defense was tighter today because we knew they have good wingmen with good shooting hands. John Wilson did not score double digits. That was a big thing for us,” said Zamboanga head coach Tony Pardo.
Cardona played his best game in Zamboanga uniform with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
Gabby Espinas nabbed his fourth double-double of the tournament with 15 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.
After trailing by as much as 19, the Explorers came to within five after two free throws by Rich Guinitaran with 6:23 left in the payoff frame, 57-62.
But the Vanguards retaliated with a 10-2 blitz, capped by Jhong Bondoc’s corner triple to restore a double-figure spread, 72-59, with just 1:55 to go to run away with the victory.
ROXAS 78 – Bondoc 21, Castro 19, Reyes 14, Camacho 9, Jaime 7, Casino 5, Sta. Ana 2, Najorda 2, Pasia 0, Deles 0.
PAGADIAN 67 – Guinitaran 22, Acaylar 10, Dechos 7, Demigaya 6, Serrano 6, Quimado 5, Benitez 5, Manalo 4, Caballeo 2, Quilo 0, Singedas 0, Cortez 0, Pamaran 0.
Quarters: 10-21, 36-28, 55-43, 78-67.
ZAMBOANGA CITY 70 – Cardona 17, Espinas 15, Neypes 9, Ferrer 8, Lingganay 6, Belencion 5, Gaco 5, Jeruta 3, Yu 2, Matias 0, Waminal 0.
CLARIN 68 – Lastimosa 12, Raymundo 10, Wilson 8, Mangahas 8, Eriobu 7, Marcelino 6, Baetiong 6, Hayes 5, Pancho 4, De Mesa 2, Lucernas 0.
Quarters: 18-18, 34-40, 55-51, 70-68.