Zhaila's All-Starz capitalized on yet another Mawati breakdown to eke out a 72-70 victory in the second game in the 2012 DLX/Gualo Rai Invitational Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Zhaila's stole the win despite trailing by 11 at the end of the third period to keep its perfect record (5-0) and clinch the first playoff berth in Pool A. Mawati dropped to a 1-5 record and is out of the running for the next round.
Jeff Chan anchored Zhaila's come-from-behind win, as he drilled 11 of his 16 points in the fourth canto, including a crucial free throw in the homestretch. Jason Bahillo had only 7 markers, but made 4 of them in the final minutes of the fourth canto.
Chan and Bahillo canned important baskets in the last one minute of the game, as Zhaila's pressured the rattled and tired Mawati crew to force errors and turned them into points.
Mawati played with only five players and despite a depleted lineup, it managed to control the first three quarters of the match only to fall apart in the end. Mawati had the same monumental collapse against Wushin Express last week and their three other losses.
Mawati took a 21-12 lead in the opening canto with all its five players making it to the scoreboard. The stunned Zhaila's picked up its scoring in the second period to move within five at the break, 33-38.
After getting the much-needed breather at halftime, the short handed Mawati team stepped on the gas anew in the third canto to stretch the lead to double digits, 57-46. Marlo Ibanez led Mawati's third-quarter attack, scoring 9 markers.
However, Ibanez was limited to one field goal and a free throw in the crucial fourth canto and the visibly exhausted Mawati team connected only four field goals. Zhaila's, on the other hand, had a lot of gas left in the tank with Chan, Bahillo, and Roger Hernandez teaming up in bringing Zhaila's back into the game and preserving their unblemished record.
QQ Rent A Car 90, Yuchiro 85
In the first game, QQ Rent A Car improved to a 2-3 record after beating Yuichiro.
Elgene Mangali sizzled for 31 points in the victory, as QQ Rent A Car took the win with a 5-man lineup. Four of the five QQ players scored in double figures with Marlon Sison adding 19, Arthur Montes chipping in 15, and Kermit Concepcion tallying 11.
Mangali fired 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and earned a living from the foul line to lift QQ to the win. Mangali converted 7 free throws, making 6 consecutive ones to foil Yuchico's bid. He also converted two field goals, while Sison and Concepcion had one each in the closing minutes to beat Yuchiro.
QQ Rent A Car 90 - Mangali 31, Sison 19, Montes 15, Concepcion 11, Lansang 3.
Yuichiro Printing 85 - Abedes 28, Camacho 20, Sanciangco 9, Gomez 6, Enriquez 6, Tengco 3, Cultura 2.
Scoring by quarters:19-21, 42-40, 61-61, 90-85.
Zhaila's All-Starz 72 - Ajoste 16, Chan 16, Hernandez 10, Ja. Bahillo 7, Lansang 5, Mostales 4, Fef. Bahillo 2, Jer. Bahillo 2, Sula 2.
Mawati 70 - Nonato 19, Rollon 18, Ibanez 14, Pena 10, Reyes 5.
Scoring by quarters: 12-21, 33-38, 46-57, 70-72.