Rollers 1 weathered Funky Town Monkey Pimps’ second half-storm to pull off a 71-68 victory and bag the last finals berth in the 2013 Sun Palace Christmas Basketball Tournament.
After leading by as much as 21 points at halftime, 48-27, Rollers 1 was threatened when FTMP moved within a deuce on two occasions in the final 1:19 mark of the second semifinals tiff last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.
An FTMP 13-4 run for about three minutes turned Rollers 2’s double-digit lead, 54-43, to 2, 68-66, with Kautong Omengkar’s triples bringing the latter back into the game. He drilled three treys and a layup in the rally, while Alvin Francisco contributed 6 points.
FTMP then had a chance to either tie the game with a 2-point field goal or grab the lead with another trey after Rollers 1 faltered anew on its offensive set, but Tristan Montes lost the ball from the backcourt. Mike Arciaga converted FTMP’s error to a layup to give Rollers 1 more cushion, 70-68, 45.6 seconds left on the clock.
Another backcourt lapse from Montes turned the ball over to Rollers 1, which also committed a mistake that led to a Francisco fastbreak layoff off a feed from Jason Lampkin. After the helter-skelter plays, Rollers 1’s lead was again trimmed down to two, 70-68, and it called a time out in the last 13.8 seconds of the close match.
When the game resumed, Prince Factor drove to the basket and drew a foul on Lampkin. Factor made the first one, but missed the second, giving Rollers 1 a shaky 3-point lead. FTMP collared the rebound and tried to call a time out, but none was given, as a dead ball was needed to halt the play. Players got confused at this juncture with Montes pulling up for an open trey, as Rollers 1 stopped playing defense. Montes missed, but Francisco got the rebound and made the putback, which was eventually nullified due to the earlier confusion created by FTMP’s attempt to call a time out.
When Francisco hit the undergoal shot that would have sliced Rollers 1’s lead to 1, 71-70, there were only 3.3 seconds left in the match. However, the clock was reset to eight seconds after the referees stopped the play and handed possession to FTMP, which was forced to go for a triple to send the game in overtime.
Kautong attempted the game-tying triple from the left key off a jump pass from Montes and had a good line, but the shot rimmed out. Jasper Alcantara went for putback, but missed, while Lampkin also tried to tap the ball in twice, but faltered as time expired, securing Rollers 1’s stint to the finals against Rollers 2.
Rollers 2 eased past Rollers 3, 73-63, in the other semis match to nail the first finals ticket.
The trio of Kobe Mendoza, Jun Fidelino, and Mike Espinosa did the damage for Rollers 2, as they combined for more than half of the team’s output. Mendoza fired 22 points, Fidelino chipped in 17, and Espinosa added 17.
Christian Morales led Rollers 2 with his 25 markers. He hit back-to-back baskets to end the first half and give Rollers 1 a precarious 1-point lead, 36-35. Morales continued his show in the second half and drew limited support from his teammates, while Mendoza and company split the pie en route to the 10-point win.
Meanwhile, Rollers 2 and Rollers 1’s winner-take-all finale will be played tomorrow at 6pm.
Rollers 2 73 – Mendoza 22, Fidelino 17, Espinosa 13, Capuyon 7, Cenir 6, Darag 4, Vivero 2.
Rollers 3 63 – Morales 25, Francisco 15, De Luna 9, Cruz 7, Rios 5.
Scoring by halves: 35-36, 73-63.
Rollers 1 71 – Arciaga 19, Factor 10, Malonzo 10, Ano 8, Iglecias 7, Pangelinan 6, Omori 2.
FTMP 68 – A. Francisco 18, Montes 18, Lampkin 13, Omengkar 11, Alcantara 8.
Scoring by halves: 48-27, 71-68.