Batangas, Zamboanga advance to semis
BATANGAS CITY–Defending champion Batangas City made quick work of Imus, 92-65, in a sudden death duel even as Zamboanga capped its stunning reversal over Muntinlupa last Monday night to complete the Final Four cast in the South division of the MPBL Datu Cup playoffs at Batangas City Coliseum.
Jeff Viernes scored 18 points, but it was Lucas Tagarda’s stellar contribution off the bench in Game 3 that proved key for the Athletics to stay on track in their chase for back-to-back crowns.
Batangas will face Zamboanga in the next round after the Rapidos overcame the Cagers, 87-83, in their own do-or-die clash.
The series starts on Wednesday in Davao City, where Davao Occidental and Bacoor will also begin their best-of-three tiff for a place in the South finals.
Jhaymo Eguilos had 12 points and nine rebounds while Mon Rogado added 10 points for the Athletics.
With top gunner Reed Juntilla, the former swingman in the PBA struggling, and do-it-all forward Harold Arboleda fouling out late, Joseph Nalos and Ivan Villanueva delivered big games for the Rapidos as they climbed back from 10 points down in the second half.
A guard out of Adamson, Nalos finished with 19 points on top of 10 assists, with his short jumper in the last 39 seconds giving Zamboanga an 84-83 lead.
Villanueva, an undersized frontliner, came away with 18 points and 10 boards aside from a steal off Ryusei Koga in the dying seconds that helped seal the victory.
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