Blue Haus eked out a thrilling 76-75 win over Lions Club/NMC Proa in Game 1 of the championship series in the 3rd QQ Car Rental Basketball Cup last Monday night at the Garapan Basketball Court.
Darwin Barbo made the winning basket to move Blue Haus one victory away from clinching the title in the best-of-three championship showdown. Barbo was clobbered by two Lions Club/NMC Proa defenders at the paint and drew a foul in the last two seconds of the fourth quarter with the game tied, 75-all. Barbo canned the first charity, but faltered on the second one with his airball shot.
Lions Club/NMC Proa then called a timeout, but failed to cash in on an important play at the resumption of the match. Dan Barcinas made the inbound play from the right sideline and passed the ball to Gino Libuw, who tried to drive to the baseline, but ran out of space and time as the final buzzer sounded.
Lions Club/NMC Proa had the first chance to break the deadlock and stole the win from Blue Haus after trailing by twin digits. However, Jack Lizama only split his free throws before Barbo attacked the basket on the other end and also trooped to the foul line for the important charities.
Game 2 of the finals series tips off tonight at 6:30pm, however it may be pushed back to 8pm as an unconfirmed consolation pairing between OCM Corporation and Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell may precede the main feature.
Blue Haus escaped with the victory after squandering an 11-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, 58-47. A 12-0 run in the fourth frame helped Proa grab the lead and it held a loose grip on the driver's seat, 74-72, going into the final 90 seconds of regulation before falling short in the end.
A late six point surge by Elmer Esdrelon, Barbo's split, and Blue Haus sturdy defense in the clutch handed the team the close win in the series opener.
The first quarter of Game 1 ended in a 17-all standstill, as Proa's Jack Lizama and Blue Haus' Bret Sutton led their squads on offense with 8 and 6 points, respectively. Then a mixed bag of six players contributed for Blue Haus in the second quarter for a 39-32 halftime lead.
Blue Haus stretched it to a healthy 58-49 favor after three quarters, as Leo Galarse rained in a couple of three-pointers for 8 points in the push.
Proa was never really out of the match and rose to the occasion in the final exchange, however it committed critical fouls and had some missed opportunities on offense to hand Game 1 to Blue Haus.
Lerio Pagarao had an impressive showing in the series opener, scoring 31 points and leading Proa's fourth quarter rally with his 16 points. Esdrelon fronted Blue Haus with his 17 markers.
Blue Haus 76 - Esdrelon 17, Tumaquip 14, Sutton 12, Barbo 9, Galarse 8, David 5, Guiab 4, Santos 4, Talania 2, Berline 1.
Lions Club/NMC Proa 75 - Pagarao 31, Lizama 19, Barcinas 8, Libuw 6, Yabut 4, Devero 4, Chariton 1.
Scoring by quarters:17-17, 39-32, 58-47, 76-75.