Daniel and Gideon bagged the first two semis berths in the 4th Genesis Cup Christian Churches Inter-Color Basketball League after pulling off close wins last Friday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Gideon clinched the first Final Four seat after edging Ezekiel in the opening playoff game, 53-51, while the defending champion Daniel prevailed over Samuel in the nightcap, 68-62.
The Daniel-Samuel tiff was a top-meets-bottom affair with the latter threatening the unbeaten team and No. 1 finisher in the elimination round after moving within 4 points, 60-64. Daniel led right from the get-go and padded its advantage to as much as 16 in the second half, but played relax past the halfway mark of the final frame allowing Samuel to inch closer.
Jerome Reyes’ 6 straight points brought the deficit to 4, but time was not on Samuel’s side, as there were only 54 seconds left in the match and Daniel wasted some clock to hang on to the lead. A long jumper and two free throws from Angelo Hernaez sealed it for Daniel.
Hernaez top-scored for Danile with his 28 points, while Andrew Palino and Reli Del Rio also finished in twin digits, adding 12 and 10, respectively.
Reyes led all scorers with his 29 points, while Ronnie Gueverra chipped in 22 for the eliminated Samuel.
Reyes and Hernaez traded baskets in the first half with the former hitting 15 against the latter’s 12. However, Hernaez got more support from his teammates, while only two other players scored for Samuel, allowing Daniel to take a 36-27 halftime lead. Guevarra and Jing Bordon had 10 and 2 points for Samuel in the first half, while five players combined for Daniel’s 24 other points.
In second half, Hernaez and Reyes continued to lead their respective teams, but Daniel still had the last say, holding off Samuel’s comeback bid.
In the first game, Gideon ousted Ezekiel to force a semis showdown with top-ranked Daniel.
Joel Buniag canned the go-ahead basket in the closing minute and Ezekiel failed to produce in the ensuing plays to enable Gideon escape with the 2-point win.
Gideon stole the victory despite falling behind in the first half, 23-26. Bradley Demapan kept Gideon afloat in the first 20 minute of play, hitting 10 of his 15 points in that canto. Buniag chipped in 5 and was only the second player on Gideon’s side to knock in at least two field goals.
The veteran player added 5 more markers in the second half, including his game-winning jumper, while Allan David fired 13 of his 15 points in the final frame to help Gideon’s cause. Vhoie Francia also finished with 15 markers to lead the eliminated Ezekiel.
Meanwhile, the two remaining semis seats will be at stake tonight with third-ranked Isaiah and fifth-seeded Jeremiah battling for the third Final Four berth at 6:30pm. In the second game at 8pm, No. 2 finisher Caleb takes on No. 7 Joshua for the last semis slot.
Gideon 53 – Demapan 15, David 15, Buniag 10, Borja 6, Sablan 3, Gonzales 2, Omampo 2.
Ezekiel 51 – Francia 15, Surima 11, Perez 11, Alcantara 4, Irog 4, Eubanks 3, Rebong 1.
Scoring by halves: 23-26, 53-51.
Daniel 68 – Hernaez 28, Palino 12, Del Rio 10, Nunez 8, Pablo 6, Chris 2, Del Carmen 2.
Samuel 62 – Reyes 29, Guevarra 22, Ponce 8, Bordon 2, Badal 2.
Scoring by halves: 36-27, 68-62.