Maplas La Mani and Pacific Stars booked semis tickets in the 2013 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League after recording contrasting wins at the start of the playoff round last Friday at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
In Division B, Maplas pulled off a come-from-behind 65-63 win over JWS, while Pacific Stars whipped Chinatown in Division A playoffs, 86-69.
Gerald Aniciete delivered the winning baskets for Maplas, which recovered from a 13-point deficit in the first quarter to take the third semis slot and arrange a Final Four duel against the undefeated Adobo tonight at 6:30pm.
Aniciete canned three pressure-packed free throws to lift Maplas to the 2-point win. His first two charities came after he collared the offensive board off Dennis Morales miss and put Maplas on top by a hair, 64-63, with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.
A JWS botched offense on the other end returned possession to Maplas and Aniciete stepped on the 15-foot line anew after getting another foul in the paint. He missed the first free throw, but made the second one to up their lead to a deuce, 65-63, with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
JWS attempted to win the match outright with White Capalad pulling up from downtown twice, but he missed both shots, completing the team's collapse and handing Maplas a slot to the next round.
Aniciete and Rommel Usi top-scored for Maplas with their 14 points apiece, while Cecilio Bisana paced JWS with his game-high 28 markers.
In the Division A playoffs, Pacific Stars dominated Chinatown in the second half to cruise to the 17-point victory.
Chinatown was still in the game after the first half, facing only an 8-point deficit, 44-36. However, Jun Estolas went to business at the start of the third and scored 12 points to spark Pacific Stars' breakaway. With Estolas on in his usual form, Pacific Stars stretched the lead to twin digits at the end of the third, 69-51. Pacific Stars' advantage one stood at nine points, 51-60, before it had a 9-0 windup in last two minutes of the third.
Pacific Stars never looked back from thereon, as Chinatown failed to consistently make its shots from the 3-point area and turned the ball over a lot of times in the fourth quarter.
With the win, Pacific Stars faces the seeded Docomo Pacific in the first semis game tonight at 8:30pm.
Maplas 65 - Aniciete 14, R. Usi 14, Morales 10, Aguilar 8, Odicta 6, San Nicolas 4, Rivera 4.
JWS 63 - Bisana 28, Capalad 17, Echavez 6, Buenabajo 6, Saplan 4, Lagado 2.
Scoring by quarters: 6-19, 24-33, 44-54, 65-53.
Pacific Stars 86 - Estolas 37, Lauron 14, Diaz 14, Babauta 8, Tenorio 7, Mallari 4.
Chinatown 69 - Teregeyo 20, Basa 19, Lizama 12, Quizon 2, Avila 2, William 2.
Scoring by quarters: 21-18, 44-36, 69-51, 86-69.