PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Old but gold. Young but strong.
That was the story of Zamboanga City’s 95-93 conquest of second seed Clarin in overtime, Monday, to sweep the first phase of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup best-of-three semifinals at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
39-year-old Mac Cardona and 23-year-old Fran Yu — the team’s youngest — led the fifth-ranked stunning upset of heavyweight Sto. Niño.
The UAAP Season 67 Finals MVP unloaded 11 of his 16 points in the fourth and extra frame. He also grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists.
On the other hand, the NCAA Season 95 Finals MVP dropped 15 of his 21 points in the last two periods. He tallied eight assists, four rebounds, and three steals.
Head coach Tony Pardo simply marveled at his two wards who are opposite in terms of age, but exactly the same when it comes to fighting for the win.
“Mac Cardona has been on a slump the whole tournament. Nabuhayan siya against dito sa Clarin,” said Pardo.
“Fran Yu, I really admire that boy. He is the youngest on the team by the way. He really understands the game.”
So what made Cardona return to his old self, the fiery scorer that everyone knew?
It might have something to do with a challenge Pardo issued to his veteran.
“The only thing I said, I remember sabi niya he loves to play in Zamboanga. Sabi ko Mac do you still believe in what you said? Ayan he stepped up big,” Pardo recalled.
And surely Captain Hook still wants to play here in Zamboanga del Sur, with a best-of-three semis second phase match-up looming against fourth-seeded Petra Cement-Roxas, starting Wednesday, 5 pm.
Meanwhile, Yu, despite his youth, played all but one minute in the fourth and overtime.
In the fourth quarter, he had 13 points, burying three triples, to help JPS overcome a once-13 point Clarin advantage.
“Sa crucial minutes, Fran Yu is the man,” shared Pardo.
“Young legs tapos ‘yung shooting niya bumalik ngayong Game Two. Magaling talaga, assists and everything all around. Steals, nakaka-intercept, what have you.”
Source: Tiebreaker Times