Blue Haus and Church 360 remained in contention for the playoff spots in the 2012 DLX/Gualo Rai Invitational Basketball League after beating separate foes last Monday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Blue Haus pulled off an upset over defending champion KFC/Taco Bell in the first game, 78-65, while Church 360 nailed a come-from-behind 77-65 victory over LD Prime in the late night match.
The win improved Blue Haus' record to 2-2 and put the team in fifth place in Pool A, just one win behind three other higher-ranked squads-MBI (3-1), San Antonio (3-1), and KFC (3-3). Zhaila's leads Pool A with its spotless 4-0 mark and is likely to claim one of the four playoff berths.
Blue Haus leaned on its three-point shooting to stun KFC, hitting nine triples, six of them came in the second half.
Back-to-back triples-one each from Edwin Camacho and Amor Casabuena-brought Blue Haus back in the game in the closing minutes of the third, 52-all. Before Blue Haus' conversations from beyond the arc, KFC managed to steal the driver's seat and led by as much as 6 with brothers Ralph and Mico Francisco combining for nine straight points midway in the third.
However, KFC lost the upper hand when it was held to 3 points in the last two minutes of the third canto, while Blue Haus fired 11 capped by Casabuena's buzzer-beating layup for a 57-52 cushion.
Blue Haus hung on to lead early in the fourth, but was momentarily threatened when Trevor Ogumoro fouled out with still 5:48 left and KFC moved closer, 61-67. Ogumuro left the game with 11 points, making on triple and a fastbreak layup in the opening minutes of the fourth canto.
With the absence of one of its gunners, KFC thought Blue Haus would eventually fold up. Blue Haus did not, as after Ogumoro left the court, it launched a 7-0 run off Bernard Aquino's triple and Sam Fernandez and Edwin Camacho's layups. Blue Haus' lead went up to double digits, 74-61, and it ran the clock well in the ensuing plays to secure the 13-point win.
Aquino top-scored for Blue Haus with his 21 points, while Casabuena and Camacho combined for 25 and five of the team's nine triples. Aquino made two treys, while Fernandez and Ogumor had one apiece.
Ralph Francisco drained all KFC's three triples and he finished with a team-high 17 markers. Angelo Fernando and Herbert Maranan only scored 6 points each, as they were in and out of the court and could not get momentum.
In the second game, Church 360 also gained momentum late in the third period and then held LD Prime to one free throw in the first five minutes of the fourth canto to steal the win.
After trailing in the majority of the first half, Church 360 forced the first deadlock of the game in the closing minutes of the third, 48-all, off Josh Lutrell's basket. The third canto went on to end with LD Prime ahead by only a deuce, 53-51.
A back-breaking 16-1 scoring in the first half of the fourth quarter turned the tables for Church 360, as Preston Basa, Wowie Abuel, and Lutrell teamed up in the rally for their 64-54 advantage. LD Prime never recovered and dropped to a 3-2 record.
Church 360 holds the same mark, tying LD Prime and Freestyle for the third to fifth spot in the team standings. Anjie's Boys (5-1) and Looban (3-1) are the Top 2 teams in Pool B, which will also have only the Top 4 teams advancing to the playoffs.
Basa led Church 360 with his 31 points, while Lutrell and Abuel chipped in 18 and 14, respectively. White Capalad paced LD Prime with his 17 markers, but was limited to a field goal in the fourth canto.
Blue Haus 78 - Aquino 21, Casabuena 13, Camacho 12, Ogumoro 11, Fernandez 7, Capalad 6, Galulu 6, Olivos 2.
KFC/Taco Bell 65 - R. Francisco 17, M. Francisco 12, Factor 10, Maranan 6, Fernando 6, Mendiola 6, Dela Rosa 5.
Scoring by quarters: 19-16, 38-31, 57-52, 78-65.
Church 360 77 - Basa 31, Lutrell 18, Abuel 14, Wood 6, Buenabajo 4, Capuyon 3, N. Puno 1.
LD Prime 65 - Capalad 17, Teregeyo 14, Lerio 12, Hernaez 10, Banatasa 4, Magtuloy 4.
Scoring by quarters: 16-20, 29-32, 51-53, 77-65.