The Sonics moved one win away from sweeping the regular season after thwarting Blue Haus, 77-71, in the U20 division game in the 2015 United Filipino Organization Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The Sonics played steadier in the closing minutes to notch their third victory in as many games and strengthen their hold to the top spot in the five-team field, while Blue Haus dropped to a 0-2 record.
Down by 3 entering the final three minutes of the game, 64-67, the Jesse Tudela-coached Sonics drew big baskets from Jack Aranda, Sean Rabasto, Mii Tekopua, and Jaymark De Guzman and made several defensive stops to foil Blue Haus’ upset bid.
Aranda’s triple tied the match and after Blue Haus faltered on its offensive sets in the ensuing plays, the Sonics countered with a fastbreak layup from De Guzman and Tekopua’s second putback. A reverse layup from Iggy Borja kept Blue Haus in the game, 69-71, with 1:39 left on the clock.
However, Rabasto gave the Sonics more cushion, 75-69, as he drove to the basket on the other end and later stole possession from Aaron Pamintuan before feeding Tekopua for a short jumper on a fastbreak play.
After Tekopua’s basket, Aranda stole an inbound pass intended for Shane Deleon Guerrero, but missed a bank shot. The Sonics, however, continued to play good defense and were rewarded with their efforts, as De Guzman anticipated Irvyn Malonzo’s crossover move and went all the way for an and-1 play. De Guzman muffed the bonus shot, while Dixon Kwon made a quick 2-point shot to move Blue Haus within 6, 71-77, time down to the last 20.1 seconds of the match.
The score remained unchanged as the Sonics ran down the time, while Blue Haus was undecided whether to give up a foul or not to stop the clock.
Rabasto and Aranda top-scored for the Sonics with 16 points, while Erick Dela Rosa and De Guzman chipped in 14 and 10, respectively.
Borja paced Blue Haus with his 20 markers, while John Ray Grilles contributed 14, but was scoreless in the fourth quarter as he spent most of the final frame at the bench. Gilles knocked in three triples and scored 11 markers in the third as he stepped in for the injured Prince Factor and helped Blue Haus recover from a double-digit deficit and take a shaky 56-54 advantage, heading into the fourth canto. Factor left the game late in the second quarter after scoring 8 points as he sprained his left hand.
Meanwhile, Auto Motion bounced back from its debut loss to Blue Haus after defeating Graphics/Star 6, 76-64, in the Masters division.
Auto Motion held Graphics/Star 6 to a mere 6 points in the fourth frame en route to the 12-point winning margin.
Before collapsing, Graphics/Star 6 was pretty much in the game, facing only an 8-point deficit at the end of the third, 48-56. Graphics/Star 6 was limited to two field goals in the fourth with Dindo Pablo making a short jumper and two free throws, while Boy Garcia scored the other basket.
Auto Motion canned three triples in the final period with Marlon Sison hitting two and Resty Joson notching the other one and also firing 7 of the team’s last 9 markers. Four other Auto Motion players lit up the board in the fourth canto.
Auto Motion 76 – Galulu 12, Balgos 12, Sison 9, Yalung 8, Montes 6, Sedillo 6, Viola 4, Mateo 4.
Graphics/Star 6 54 – Dela Cruz 11, Pablo 10, E. Ebuen 8, Garcia 7, Abadilla 6, O. Ebuen 4, De Jesus 3, Tibayan 2.
Scoring by quarters: 14-12, 38-33, 56-48, 76-54.
Sonics 77 – Rabasto 16, Aranda 16, Dela Rosa 14, De Guzman 10, Tekopua 8, Ito 4, Javier 3, Ogasawara 2, Flores 2.
Blue Haus 71 – Borja 20, Grilles 14, Factor 8, Deleon Guerrero 8, Kwon 4, Feria 4, Manalili 4, Malonzo 4.
Scoring by quarters: 23-12, 34-30, 54-56, 77-71.