PAGADIAN, Zamboanga del Sur ‒ Petra Cement-Roxas marched to the Mindanao Leg Finals after trouncing Zamboanga City, 83-72, in their do-or-die game in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup semifinals phase two Friday.
The win enabled the fourth-seeded Vanguards a best-of-three title series with Jumbo Plastic-Basilan starting on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Basilan gained gained an outright Finals berth after sweeping the eliminations.
Already leading by seven, Roxas then outscored its fancied rival in the third canto, 23-16, to build a 14-point advantage heading into the payoff period, 66-52.
“Sinasabi ko lagi sa players ko na ang Zamboanga mas beterano sa atin yan, tayo hindi rin naman tayo ganon kabata at may beterano rin tayo na dapat mag step-up. Buti hindi naman nagpabaya ang mga beterano namin,” said Vanguards head coach Eddie Laure.
Seven was the closest JPS could get in the fourth, 78-71, on free throws by Fran Yu with 1:58 left.
But the Vanguards held on to book their seat in the Finals.
Things got heated at the 1:32 mark of the third frame when Jerwin Gaco and Leo Najorda figured on a rebound battle with their arms entangled. The two then shoved each other before Jordan Sta. Ana came to Najorda’s defense, pushing Gaco.
Gaco, Najorda, and Sta. Ana all merited technical fouls.
Sta. Ana picked the best game to show his offensive prowess, firing 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal.
Najorda finished with 16 points, all coming from the second half. Lester Reyes netted 13 points and 12 rebounds.
MVP candidate James Castro stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.
Gabby Espinas paced JPS with 16 points and seven rebounds but Mac Cardona, who was playing with a hamstring injury, went scoreless in nine minutes of action.
Roxas 83 – Sta. Ana 17, Najorda 16, Reyes 13, Castro 12, Bondoc 9, Casino 5, Jaime 4, Pasia 4, Camacho 3, Velasco 0, Initic 0, Rifaril 0, Elmejrab 0, Templo 0, Deles 0.
Zamboanga City 72 – Espinas 16, Belencion 14, Yu 13, Lingganay 12, Gaco 9, Jeruta 8, Neypes 0, Cardona 0, Ferrer 0, Jumao-as 0.
Quarters: 25-19, 43-36, 66-52, 83-72.