PAMPANGA and La Union swept their respective best-of-three semi-finals match in contrasting fashion to arrange a Finals rematch in Chooks-to-Go National Basketball League (NBL) Chairman’s Cup on Sunday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Encho Serrano took over in overtime as Pampanga pulled off a 112-108 victory over Taguig to punch their ticket and defend the title they won over La Union last year.
Down 105-101 early in overtime, the former De La Salle Green Archer took charge, firing back-to-back treys with 3:12 remaining. Levi Hernandez also knocked down a trey to give the Delta a 110-105 lead.
Dan Natividad and Mike Sampurna gave Taguig one last fight, slicing the lead to two with 51 seconds left but a cold-blooded jumper by Serrano with three seconds left punched his team’s ticket to the finals.
The second-ranked La Union dominated Muntinlupa, 107-84, to seal the rematch via a similar 2-0 win in their best-of-three semi-final series.
Trailing by 18 in the third period, Muntinlupa clawed back with 13 straight points, capped by Arnold Danga’s deuce to inch within five, 76-81.
However, La Union had one last blast in them to clinch the last Finals ticket.
The second-seeded squad went on a 15-3 burst to restore order and establish an insurmountable 17-point lead, 96-79, with 4:25 to go.
The PAOwer opened the game on a scorching 19-2 blitz but the Water Warriors’ bench came in to restore order.
Jayson Apolonio tallied a monster double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds alongside three assists, two steals, and a block.
Serrano paced Pampanga with a game-high 25 points, shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep.
Delta had a slow start in the game, falling behind by as much as 23 points in the first half and nine points heading into the final frame.
Pampanga (112) – Serrano 25, Yong 18, Garcia 16, Dyke 15, Hernandez 13, David 12, Gania 9, Santos J. 2, Liangco 2, Binuya 0, Pascual 0, Tamayo 0, Santos R. 0.
Taguig (108) – Natividad 22, Sampurna 19, Mayo 14, Santos 13, Subrabas 12, Castro 11, Lontoc 11, Caduada 3, Oliveria 2, Tancioco 1, Yasa 0, Gilbero 0.
Quarterscores: 22-24, 44-60, 69-78, 101-101, 112-108.
La Union (107) – Apolonio 24, Boado 18, Llona 18, Maynes 10, Silverie 7, Francisco 7, Pambid 6, Blaza 4, Gatchalian 2, Gurtiza 2, Caasi 0, Pascua 0, Doliente 0.
Muntinlupa (84) – Sabado 13, Montserrat 11, Codiñera 10, Madanlo 9, Danga 8, Villablanca 8, Arias 7, Stevens 5, Enguio 5, Panganiban 5, Udal 0.
Quarterscores: 27-24, 49-43, 81-66, 107-84.