Defending champion MDX/Armatech moved a win away from earning a return trip to the finals, while Bayani/LBT Appraisal also marched into the semis round of the 2012 UFO Masters Budweiser Cup after downing separates foes last Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
MDX/Armatech defeated Laguna/Twinkle/Erika’s, 105-76, while Bayani/LBT cruised past VisMinda/Civic Boys, 103-91. MDX’s semis foe on July 12 will be the winner of the knockout match between Batangas/Fong’s Bakery and MAFEA/CMI (July 8), while Bayani will take on the victor of the Laguna-Civic Boys tiff.
VisMinda/Civic Boys threatened the defending champion, climbing back from a 34-50 deficit in the third period and moving within a deuce, 56-58. MDX almost lost the big lead after playing complacent at the start of the second half and was scoreless for more than four minutes after making a free throw in the opening minute of the third period. Ed Pangelinan and company capitalized on an over-confident MDX crew to close the gap with less than four minutes left in the third.
However, the backcourt trio of Ferdie Tobias, Martin Moreno, and James Abuy returned control of the game back to MDX, as they teamed up in a 13-4 windup with Abuy hitting a buzzer-beating trey to up the lead to twin digits anew at the end of the third, 71-60.
In the fourth quarter, MDX completely took over behind the 3-point shooting of Abuy and Moreno, while VisMinda gassed out after a good rally in the third canto.
Abuy finished with 23 points, while Tobias and Moreno chipped in 19 and 18, respectively.
In the second game, Bayani/LBT also withstood a Laguna rally in the second quarter en route to a 12-point win.
Bayani had a jackrabbit start, leading by 12 after the first, 32-20. It went ahead by as much as 16 in the opening canto before VisMinda picked up its scoring in the closing minutes of the first period.
VisMinda continued to recover and moved within two, 33-35, after limiting Bayani to three points in the first five minutes of the second canto, while scoring 13. Norman Olfindo anchored VisMinda’s good start in the second period, making 6 points, while Ronnie De Belen added 5, and Bobby Geli chipped in 2.
Sensing trouble, Bayani went back to business in the final half of the second period with Ed Cosino capitalizing on his advantage at the paint and scoring 6 straight points, while his three other teammates also began attacking the basket to widen the gap anew at the break, 57-42.
That was it for VisMinda, as it just traded baskets with Bayani in the second half and the former trimmed the deficit to a decent number after the latter let go of its guard in the final two minutes of the match.
MDX/Armatech 105 – Abuy 23, Tobias 19, Moreno 18, Berline 14, Montano 8, Poquiz 7, Gabaldon 5, Jinang 4, Canedo 4, Malasarte 3.
Laguna/Twinkle/Erika’s 76 – Park 16, Ebuen 13, Pablo 10, Pangilinan 10, Lansang 6, Manipon 4, Villegas 4, Lopez 3, Salazar 2, Guerrero 2.
Bayani/LBT Appraisal 103 – Ocampo 27, Diaz 22, Cosino 18, Pineda 17, Tiples 10, De La Torre 5, Santos 2, Sahagun 2.
VisMinda/Civic Boys 91 – Geli 32, Faustino 18, Sevilla 12, Olfindo 12, Mangubat 6, De Belen 5, Miguel 4, Santos 2.
Scoring by quarters: 32-20, 57-42, 83-58, 103-91.
By Roselyn Monroyo