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Mighty passes acid test against Singapore Slingers, set up Merlion Cup final clash with Shanghai

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Mighty Sports survived a late drama and subdued the Singapore Slingers, 72-70, in their knockout Merlion Cup semifinal match at the OCBC Arena in Singapore on Saturday night.

The PCBL powerhouse got a sigh of relief after they nearly bungled their late blitz as their ABL counterparts also had a crucial error down the stretch.

After his team's poor second quarter performance, Mighty's Dewarick Spencer went berserk in the third, spearheading his squad's 18-2 run to take a 53-46.

The Slingers closed out the period on an 8-3 mini-run to cut the lead to two, 56-54, igniting a wild fourth quarter that saw both teams taking turns in having the lead.

Justin Howard buried a Hail Mary shot from beyond the arc that went in to give the Slingers a 68-67 lead with exactly a minute left in the game, but Kiefer Ravena answered with a reverse layup to cap the seesaw battle with Mighty leading, 69-68.

The Slingers failed to convert in their next play, and Joseph Yeo fired a triple to give Mighty a four-point cushion, 72-68, with 36 seconds remaining.

However, the Slingers still put up two points on the boards through free throws, and Spencer turned the ball over, giving them nine seconds to force overtime.

The game was decided in the Slingers' muffed final play, where Jeff Viernes was whistled for a traveling call while going for the layup.

Spencer finished with 29 points for Mighty, which will take on Shanghai, a 76-70 winner over Seoul in the other semifinal, for all the marbles on Sunday night at the said venue.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno