Jun Estolas and Jun Fidelino lifted Flip Top to the victory, knocking in crucial free throws and triples, respectively. Estolas scored a game-high 36 points, including four straight free throws in the home stretch, while Fidelino drained Flip Top’s last 6 points off his back-to-back treys and finished with 10 markers.
Flip Top had to rely on Estolas and Fidelino’s fourth-quarter heroics, as it started the final canto facing a 5-point deficit, 56-61. Besides his four successive charities, Estolas also hit three field goals in the first five minutes of the fourth frame to bring Flip Top back in the game, while Ron Gamboa contributed three baskets, too. Directo Estolas and Mike Arciaga combined for the 6 other points of Flip Top in the early part of the fourth period, while Fidelino, who had only 4 points at the end of the third, made up for his so-so performance with back-breaking triples at crunch time.
Flip Top scored 28 points in the pivotal fourth for its most productive output in a quarter and a big turnaround from 12-point production in the third. Flip Top was held to five field goals in the third period and failed to get a single basket from Jun Estolas, who was limited to two free throws. Before the meltdown, the Flip Top guard finished the first half with 22 points to give his team a 44-38 advantage.
SSFM overhauled the deficit in the third period behind its balance scoring. Five SSFM players nailed at least two field goals each in the third frame to grab the upper hand, but it could not keep the driver’s seat in the end, as Estolas and Fidelino hit timely baskets for Flip Top.
Jerome Norita led SSFM’s losing cause with his 26 point, while Celio Bisana added 18. Despite the loss, SSFM is still in the race for the finals berth, as the semis round has a round-robin format with the Top 2 teams after the playoffs advancing to the championship game.
Joining SSFM and Flip Top in the hunt for the finals ticket are Ghasias Brothers and elimination round top finisher and defending champion Ali’i. Ghasias Brothers and Ali’i were originally set to meet in another semis game last Saturday, but the match was rescheduled as the former had to play the continuation of its rained-out tiff against the Bandits for the last semis seat. Ghasias Brothers eventually won, 79-78.
Flip Top 84 – J. Estolas 36, Arciaga 13, Fidelino 10, D. Estolas 10, Gamboa 9, Capalad 2, Isip 2.
SSFM 81 – Norita 26, Bisana 18, Ong 11, Aguon 11, Espinosa 9, Tobias 4.
Scoring by quarters: 22-23, 44-38, 56-61, 84-81.