BASILAN-Jumbo Plastic Medical Depot knocked out Pasig-Sta. Lucia, 77-72, on Wednesday in the crossover semifinals of the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational powered by TM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Basilan will await the winner of San Juan-GFG AICC versus Imus-Buracai de Laiya which was ongoing as of press time for the championship match set Thursday night.
Basilan head coach Jerson Cabiltes could help but turn emotional moments after the game. His team was not able to fight for a finals slot during the Lakan playoffs last March due to multiple positive cases of COVID-19 in the team.
“Everything, ito nga yung pag buo namin ng lineup in this Invitational talagang last-minute changes sa amin kasi nga half of my team departed from the last league,” said Basilan head coach Jerson Cabiltes, who is set to make his first-ever finals appearance in the MPBL.
“Actually ‘di ko nga alam na deadline na pala, so we were cramming during the last day of the submission of lineups. I’m just fortunate na those guys na nakuha ko is available and they have the same heart and desire like us,” he added as he was able to add NBL Finals MVP Encho Serrano and VisMin Visayas Leg MVP Jaymar Gimpayan to his team.
Basilan gained control right from the get-go, taking a 24-16 lead to start the first before leading by as much as 18 points, 60-42, to bury Pasig late in the third frame.
With Fran Yu leading the way, the Realtors rallied in the fourth to trim the lead to just four, 72-76, with 27 seconds left.
Jonathan Uyloan then iced the game with a split on the line with 17 seconds remaining.
Michael Juico put up an all-around performance of 23 points, five assists, five rebounds, and four steals to keep Basilan undefeated in six games.
Jay Collado supplied 17 points and four rebounds while Encho Serrano added 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists for the Jumbo Plastic-backed.
Philip Manalang and JR Taganas glued things together with the former dishing out eight assists and the latter grabbing 10 boards.
On the other hand, Fran Yu dropped 22 points on 5-of-16 shooting to go along with four assists, three steals, and two rebounds to lead Pasig.
Japs Bautista added 13 points built on three triples while Jeckster Apinan, who shot a lowly 6-of-12 from the field, only had 12 markers and four boards.
Basilan-Jumbo Medical (72) – Juico 23, Collado 17, Serrano 14, Gimpayan 11, Uyloan 9, Reyes 1, Bondoc 1, Siruma 1, Manalang 0, Taganas 0, Bringas 0.
Pasig-Sta. Lucia (72) – Yu 22, Bautista 13, Apinan 12, Mina 6, Arana 5, Lingganay 5, Teng 4, Ablaza 3, Costelo 2, Caralipio 0, Chan 0.
Quarterscores: 24-16, 49-35, 65-53, 77-72.