KFC/Taco Bell pulled off an upset over dethroned champion Mobil, 93-85, in the second playoff game in the 3rd QQ Car Rental Basketball Cup last Wednesday at the Garapan Basketball Court to advance to the semifinals.
KFC faces Lions Club/NMC Proa tonight at 8pm in the second Final Four pairing, while Blue Haus takes on OCM in the opening semis tiff at 6:30pm. OCM posted a similar stunner against KB Market last Wednesday, 65-59, to clinch the third semis seat.
The battle for the final semis slot started with Mobil assuming a shaky 27-26 edge in the first quarter. Banjo Basila and Gyles Ruluked hooked up for 18 points for Mobil, while KFC remained hot on the trail after getting a handful of three-pointers in the opening period.
Jun Estolas then took over for Mobil in the second canto, scoring 11 points, but KFC kept on hitting their triples to stay in the game at the break, behind by only five, 49-54.
Estolas sat out in the third period and KFC/Taco Bell took advantage of his absence, nabbing the lead, 71-68, With Estolas out, KFC held Mobil to 14 points in the third frame while receiving offense from 10 of its players.
Having been in such a position many times before, Mobil did not panic, however in this case, the Marvin Deocares-coached squad may have been too relaxed and hardly express any sense of urgency heading into the last 10 minutes of play.
As for KFC/Taco Bell, it played with reckless abandon and went on to send its favored opponents packing with raw hustle. KFC also leaned on its consistent 3-point shooting, as it canned three more in the fourth to put Mobil in a headlock with about three minutes left in regulation.
Jaymark De Guzman splashed in back-to-back treys that started the surge and his teammates fed off the energy to take the big win.
Jack Aranda ended up leading five other KFC players in double figures with his 15 points, while Ruluked turned in 20 in defeat.
Meanwhile, in last Wednesday’s curtain raiser, both teams started slow with OCM managing a slim 9-8 off Ben Lisua’s successive baskets and Rodney Sacramento’s triple.
Sacramento connected with another long range strike for 6 more points in the second quarter to help OCM retain the driver’s seat at halftime, 22-19.
KB Market seemed out of sync from the tip, though Preston Basa managed 7 points to keep his team afloat.
KB Market regrouped at the break and its shooters began to find their mark in the third period with Basa hitting two triples to turn the table in their favor, 42-41, heading into crunch time.
OCM bit down in the final period and answered with a pair of strikes behind the arch early in the fourth quarter, while Ben Lisua tallied 9 points down the home stretch to secure the third semis seat.
Bernard Aquino and Alex Standish combined for a baker’s dozen in the fourth for KB Market, but the rest of their teammates went cold.
Lisua scored a game-high 23 points, while Basa was held to a meager team-high 14 on the short end.
OCM 65 – Lisua 23, Teregeyo 14, Sacramento 12, Diaz 6, Tenorio 4, Babauta 3, Barrios 1.
KB Market 59 – Basa 14, B. Aquino 13, Standish 9, P. Lizama 5, De Dios 4, Je. Norita 4, Wesley 4, Fitial 2, Ito 2, Paraiso 1, Umali 1.
Scoring by quarters: 9-8, 22-19, 41-42, 65-59.
KFC/Taco Bell 93 – Aranda 15, Manglona 13, Ja. De Guzman 13, Bahillo 11, Joyner 10, Salem 10, Abuel 7, Bernardo 5, Fernando 4, Saturno 2, Francisco 2.
Mobil 85 – Ruluked 20, Estolas 18, Basila 16, Peredo 12, Sharry 8, Mangali 7, Jo. De Guzman 2, B. Camacho 2.
Scoring by quarters: 26-27, 49-54, 71-68, 93-85.