Wushin Express is derailed no more.
After losing three straight games, Wushin Express is back on track, following an 88-70 victory over Mawati in the second match in the 2012 DLX/Gualo Rai Invitational Basketball League last Saturday at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Wushin Express now has a 2-3 record and remains in contention for the playoff spots in Pool A. Only the Top 4 teams will march into the playoffs and Wushin Express is in fifth place in the nine-team field, just one win behind the fourth-ranked KFC/Taco Bell (3-2), and third-running MBI (3-1) and San Antonio (3-1).
Mawati is at the No. 8 spot with its 1-4 record and will need a miracle to make it to the next round. It failed to keep its playoff hopes alive, as after controlling the first half of its game against Wushin, Mawati started to melt down midway in the third canto and totally collapsed in the fourth period.
Mawati was in front at the break, 39-33, and hung in there in the first five minutes of the second half before Rocyl Ritual, Raymark Castro, and Pete Lizama teamed up in stealing the lead, 48-47, with 4:48 left in the third. The trio combined for 13 of Wushin's first 15 points in the third period with Ritual's basket putting the team on top. Ferdie Tobias also contributed in the third, drilling Wushin's last 4 points to stretch their advantage to 3 at the end of that canto, 59-56.
Mawati lost the lead and the momentum of the game in the third, as no one was willing to take charge on offense and they waited for each other to make a move until they were time pressured to pull up a shot. Mawati also committed a blunder when it brought Arjay Nonato back to the bench in the final four minutes of the third canto. Nonato scored 11 points in the third half and added 5 in the third before he sat out.
The forward also did not start for Mawati in the fourth quarter and his team continued to struggle on offense, while Wushin launched an 11-4 run in the first four minutes of the final canto to build its first double-digit lead, 70-60.
Ivan Devero, who missed a lot of shots in the first half and had only one field goal in the third, finally got into his rhythm, scoring six of Wushin's first 11 points. He went on to fire 12 markers in the fourth canto alone, as Wushin's lead ballooned to as much as 20 points, 84-64, entering the last two minutes of the game.
Devero led four other Wushin players in double digits with his 22 markers. Ritual added 21, Lizama chipped in 13, and Tobias and Castro contributed 10 each.
Nonato paced Wushin with his 18 markers, but was held to only one field goal in the fourth, failing to get his form back after sitting out the third period.
Freestyle 67, Looban 59
In the Pool B game last Friday, Freestyle snapped Looban's three-game winning run.
Clayton Kenty debuted for Freestyle and lifted his team to an important win after scoring 15 points. Freestyle improved to a 3-2 record, boosting its playoff chances, as it currently occupies the fourth spot behind Looban (3-1), LD Prime (3-1), and Anjie's Boys (5-1).
Freestyle got off to a good start in last weekend's make-up game, taking an 18-8 lead. Dennis Morales drilled 8 of his 14 markers in the first period, while Kenty had 6 to give Freestyle an early double-digit lead.
The advantage went to as high as 18 points in the second canto before Looban tried to launch a comeback in the second half and still fell short.
Freestyle 67 - Kenty 15, Cruz 14, Morales 14, Yalung 8, Detera 6, Brennan 5, Alejandro 2.
Looban 59 - De Leon 16, De Guzman 15, Montano 9, Tabamo 8, Dayrit 5, Loste 2, Mateo 2.
Scoring by quarters: 18-8, 38-24, 49-43, 67-59.
Wushin Express 88 - Devero 22, Ritual 21, Lizama 13, Tobias 10, Castro 10, Villasan 5, Tibayan 4, Herrera 3.
Mawati 70 - Nonato 18, Serrano 16, Enriquez 10, Dela Cruz 8, Reyes 4, Tenepere 3.
Scoring by quarters: 14-18, 33-39, 59-56, 88-70.