PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — No. 4 seed Petra Cement-Roxas moved on the cusp of the Mindanao Leg Finals of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup in nail-biting fashion, Wednesday night
Trailing by as many as 18 points, the Vanguards clawed all the way back to shock fifth seed Zamboanga City in overtime, 91-84, to take Game One of the best-of-three semifinals phase two at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
And it was veterans Leo Najorda and Chito Jaime who stepped up big time for Roxas.
“‘Yung leadership ni Chito at ni Leo nangingibabaw talaga kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila, buo ‘yung team namin, hindi kami nag-iiwanan dito laban lang kami,” said Roxas head coach Eddie Laure.
Najorda scored the first seven Vanguards points while Jaime followed it up with a trifecta and a layup to put their squad ahead, 87-81, with 1:09 left in the extra period.
JPS, who was shooting a high 13-of-15 from the line prior to overtime, all of a sudden shot blanks, going 4-of-8 in the most important canto.
Down by 10 entering the payoff period, the Vanguards were able to tie things up on Leo Najorda’s layup with 19.7 ticks left.
Zamboanga’s Fran Yu took the final shot in the fourth frame, driving to the cup but missed his layup to send the game to overtime.
“Credit sa puso ng players naminna hindi sumusuko. Hangga’t hindi tumutunog ang final buzzer, hindi sila tumitigil sa kakalaro,” said Laure.
Najorda, who was averaging just 9.8 points prior to this game. finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, to go with five rebounds, a steal, and a block.
James Castro pumped in 19 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, while Jhong Bondoc added 15 points and eight rebounds against six turnovers.
Jaime had nine points, including seven in overtime. Another Vanguard who stepped up was Jordan Sta. Ana who had 14 rebounds, eight points, and six rebounds.
Gabby Espinas was the high man for JPS with 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Fran Yu and Mac Cardona also fired 14 points apiece.
Rudy Lingganay scattered 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the losing cause.
Roxas looks to book its place in the Finals tomorrow, 5 pm, while Zamboanga shoots for a decider.
Roxas 91 – Castro 19, Najorda 19, Bondoc 15, Jaime 9, Sta. Ana 8, Camacho 8, Pasia 5, Reyes 4, Casino 4.
Zamboanga City 84 – Espinas 18, Yu 14, Cardona 14, Lingganay 12, Gaco 12, Jeruta 4, Ferrer 4, Neypes 3, Belencion 3, Wanimal 0.
Quarterscores: 12-27, 30-45, 53-63, 75-75, 91-84.
Source: Tiebreaker Times