Depleted, but not defeated.
Mobil played the winner-take-all finale in the 2012 Emon Lodge 179 Basketball League-Docomo Brotherhood Cup without Jun Estolas, but leaned on the solid games of its three starters and ample support from its bench for an impressive 83-64 win over Hi-Five last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Banjo Basila did a great job quarterbacking for Mobil, while fellow starters Marvin Rabauliman and Gyles Ruluked dominated the once mighty Hi-Five frontliners, and the rest of the team also contributed to the cause to more than make up for Estolas' absence in the finals. Estolas was slapped with a two-year suspension after figuring in a fight with Ashey's/Brabu's Marlon De Dios in their semis game last Thursday.
With the inaugural season MVP out, the odds slightly favored Hi-Five, which came off a big semis win over pennant champion Pacific Islands Club. However, after engaging Mobil in a slugfest in the first three quarters, Hi-Five folded up in the decisive fourth and threw the towel in the final two minutes of the game.
Actually, Mobil, which won the inaugural Emon Lodge caging against Armatech in 2010, gained momentum of the closely fought match late in the third when it opened a 54-44 lead-the first time that a team went up by double digits. A 6-2 windup kept Hi-Five in the game and it moved further, 52-56, after James Villacrusis opened the fourth with a long jumper.
However, Hi-Five was held to only two field goals in the ensuing plays, while Rabauliman began to take over on offense, scoring 8 straight points, as Mobil threatened to pull away, 75-59, with less than five minutes left in the match.
Hi-Five sued for time to restore order on the team, but Mobil would not be denied, as Rabauliman and company finished the game on a high note, going for one basket after another and running after every possession.
Rabauliman top-scored for Mobil with 22 points, while Basila and Ruluked chipped in 16 and 14, respectively. Angelo Fernando, Badong Camacho, and Errol Peredo came off the bench and combined for 26 big points. Fernando, who came in for the off Ron Gamboa, started for Mobil in the third and had 9 points, while Peredo gave quality minutes to Mobil in the first three cantos and contributed 6. Camacho, who had only one field goal in the first three frames, replaced the foul troubled Ruluked early in the fourth and finished with 11 markers.
Barcinas paced Hi-Five with his 24 points, but he faded out in the second half, as Mobil made key defensive adjustments, preventing the former from hitting too many outside shots. Barcinas, who had three triples and a couple of long jumpers in the first half and finished the opening 20 minutes of play with 19 points, had no treys in the second and was limited to two field goals that came when the game was already decided.
Ponce Rasa and Jesus Iguel were also among the missing link for Hi-Five. Rasa had only 3 points, as he was saddled with fouls, getting two quick ones in the first period, while Iguel was limited to 2 points in the first half and ended up with only 8 markers.
Adding to Hi-Five's woes was the lackluster performance of big men Charlie Peters and Alex Standish. Peters, who usually cherry picks in the shaded lane, converted only one shot in the paint, while Standish got into foul troubles while defending Ruluked. The two Hi-Five big men combined for only 9 points, 13 markers short of their contribution in the semis win against PIC and were outrebounded by Ruluked and Rabauliman. With Peters and Standish struggling, Hi-Five clearly missed Peter Mendiola, who got injured in their first game in the playoffs.
In the battle for third place, PIC routed Ashley's.
PIC 97 - Abuy 31, Demapan 24, Sublemente 13, Barbo 12, Babauta 12, Bartolo 1.
Ashley's/Brabu 81 - Aquino 19, Mangali 14, Norita 13, Cortez 12, Ito 4, Montes 2.
Scoring by quarters: 24-19, 48-40, 77-59, 97-81.
Mobil 83 - Rabauliman 22, Basila 16, Ruluked 14, Fernando 9, Camacho 8, Peredo 6, Gapor 2, Tumaquip 2, Gamboa 1.
Hi-Five 64 - Barcinas 24, Villacrusis 14, Iguel 8, Standish 5, Peters 4, Rasa 3, Quitugua 2, Acosta 2.
Scoring by quarters: 17-14, 39-35, 56-50, 83-64.