JP World booked the first semis ticket after outclassing the Rebels in the curtain-raiser, 77-69, while Toka routed High-Five in the nightcap, 86-70, to notch the second Final Four berth.
Toka took control of the second playoff match right from the get-go and withstood High-Five’s mini rally in the third period en route to the 16-point winning margin. The second-ranked Toka, which finished the regular season with a 6-1 record, built an early double-digit lead in the first canto, 28-11, with four of its starters drilling at least three baskets apiece.
High-Five fell behind early, as it had only three players making it to the board in the opening canto with Ken McCain and Tim Wesley canning two field goals each and John Acosta drilling a triple. High-Five played catch up since then and managed to cut the deficit to a single digit, 53-45, midway in the third canto, behind the three straight triples of Ed Pangelinan. High-Five had two chances to move closer, but missed on two fastbreak plays, but a triple from Preston Basa brought Toka’s lead back to twin digits, 56-45.
Toka never relinquished the double-figure advantage from thereon with Ezra Caro, Jack Lizama, and Marvin Rabauliman delivering the killer blows in the fourth quarter. All three finished in twin digits with Lizama scoring 11, Rabauliman adding 16, and Caro chipping in 13. Basa and Barcinas added 15 and 10, respectively, while Jimmy Tudela contributed 8 before being thrown out of the game in the second quarter after figuring in an altercation with High-Five’s Derrick Aughenbaugh.
Pangelinan led High-Five’s losing cause with his 16 markers.
Meanwhile, in the first game, JP World got into business in the second half to foil the Rebels’ upset bid.
The Rebels were in control of the first 20 minutes of play, leading by 6 after the first period, 20-14, and hanging on to the same margin by halftime, 37-31, thanks to Don Teregeyo’s 9 points in the first canto and 8 from Trevor Ogumoro in the second.
Freddie Pelisamen and Jun Estolas, who combined for only five field goals in the first half, stepped up in the second to save JP World. Pelisamen banged in 9 points in the third, while Estolas contributed 6, as JP World grabbed the upper hand, 53-51.
Pelisamen kept going in the fourth canto, adding 8 more points, while drawing help from big man Gyles Ruluked, who nailed 8 of his 11 markers in the final canto. Forward Rolly Paraiso also had timely baskets in the fourth period and chipped in 4, 3 of them came late in the game, to lift JP World to victory.
The Rebels stayed in the game in the fourth canto by hitting triples in succession, but ran out of steam in the end.
With the win, JP World will play in the semifinals against the winner between the Blue Haus-Hoopaholics playoff match, while Toka will face the victor of the Island Manpower-Rollers duel.
JP World 77 – Pelisamen 28, J. Estolas 17, Ruluked 14, Paraiso 10, Sharry 4. D. Estolas 2, Peredo 2.
Rebels 69 – Ogumoro 21, Teregeyo 14, Lisua 10,Litulumar 8, Chen 5, Demapan 5, Babauta 5, Matsutaro 3.
Scoring by quarters: 14-20, 31-37, 53-51, 77-69.
Toka 86 – Lizama 22, Rabauliman 16, Basa 15, Caro 13, Barcinas 10, Tudela 8.
High-Five 70 – Pangelinan 16, Brennan 15, McCain 12, Acosta 9, Coldeen 8, Wesley 5, Peters 4.
Scoring by quarters: 28-11, 44-31, 62-52, 86-70.