Pacific Stars gained its third straight victory after pulling off a come-from-behind 74-70 win over SSFM in Division A of the 2013 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational last Saturday at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Pacific Stars rallied from a 9-point deficit in the last 5:24 of the fourth quarter to extend its streak after dropping its first three games, while SSFM has lost two in a row and matched the former's 3-3 slate.
SSFM boosted its chance of returning to the win column after taking a 66-57 lead behind the combined 12 points of Leo Galarse and Don Brennan in the first half of the final canto. However, SSFM collapsed in the homestretch, scoring only one field goal and two free throws.
Pacific Stars capitalized on SSFM's breakdown, dropping a 13-2 bomb capped by Jun Estolas' back-to-back fastbreak layups that gave the former the lead, 70-68, for the first time since the opening quarter. SSFM momentarily tied the match off Galarse's pair of charities, 70-70, with less than a minute left in the game, but Alex Lauron answered with his own two charities to bring the Pacific Stars back on top.
Rocyl Ritual then opted for a long shot on SSFM's next offensive set and missed and Pacific Stars went for another fastbreak play, but Lauron failed to make the basket. However, Lauron got the offensive rebound and nailed the putback to give Pacific Stars more cushion, 74-70, 18 second remaining on the clock.
Three more misses from downtown sealed SSFM's doom.
Lauron led Pacific Stars'come-from-behind victory with his 20 points, while Estolas chipped in 15, making 6 of them in the last five minutes of the match. Zack Babauta and Zack Diaz also finished in twin digits with 13 and 10, respectively.
Galarse top-scored for SSFM with his 28 points, while Brennan added 22. Pacific Stars had only six players available for the game, missing big men Jack Lizama and Eric Dela Rosa and shooter John Darag.
ICS Shooters 69, Gualo Rai 65
In the Division B duel, the ICS Shooters (3-3) outclassed Gualo Rai (3-4).
Webby Guntar provided a steady offense for the ICS Shooters in the first thee quarters, while Victor Mallari closed it out for the team, drilling 7 of his 9 markers in the fourth canto. His two free throws and Guntar's field goal iced it for the ICS Shooters. Guntar went on to finish with 18 points, while Resty Corotan chipped in 12.
Joseph Galulu had 15 for Gualo Rai, drilling 10 of them in the first period to put his team in the driver's seat, 26-20. However, Gualo Rai lost the lead, as its offense dwindled in the last three quarters.
Gualo Rai scored only 12 points in the second canto against the ICS Shooters' 21, allowing the latter to grab the upper hand at halftime, 41-38. The ICS Shooters then protected the lead with Guntar and Mallari teaming up in the second half.
ICS Shooters 69 - Guntar 18, Corotan 12, Tala 10, Mallari 9, Enriquez 8, David 7, R. Lansang 2.
Gualo Rai 65 - Galulu 15, Ybanez 12, Factor 12, Yap 8, Capuyon 6, Deleon Guerrero 4, Espinosa 4.
Scoring by quarters: 20-26, 41-38, 53-49, 69-65.
Pacific Stars 74 - Lauron 20, Estolas 15, Babauta 13, Diaz 10, Gomez 6, Tenorio 6.
SSFM 70 - Galarse 28, Brennan 22, Pantaleon 10, Ritual 6, Tobias 4.
Scoring by quarters: 15-10, 29-32, 51-54, 74-70.