|Jericho Reyes saved the day for the Junior Defenders.|
By Dugout Philippines
BACOOR—Fourth-ranked team Las Piñas pulled off a come-from-behind 67-66 stunner over top seed Makati behind Jericho Reyes to force a do-or-die semifinal game in the South Division of the Metro League Boys 17-&-under Basketball tournament Thursday at the Bacoor Strike Gym.
Reyes fired a game-high 29 points, including the game-winning free throw, to help Las Piñas force a semis rubber match in the South Division of M-League that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and with Barangay 143 as league presentor.
Reyes also dished out eight assists and hauled down four rebounds in 39 minutes of play in the game where his team trailed by as much as 15 in the third period.
Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Bacoor City Agimat clinched the first Division Finals berth after winning by default against third-seeded Pasay also in the South Division of this tourney for 17-year old and under basketball aspirants which has major sponsors in Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation.
Staring at a 48-33 deficit with 4:14 left in the third canto and 55-44 entering the fourth quarter, Reyes joined forces with Kayecer Petilla and Jericho Montero to tie the game at 66-all with 1:33 left in the game.
Reyes then sank the dagger free throw with 36 seconds remaining before making a crucial steal to seal the thrilling win.
Daniel Valencia tallied 10 points, four rebounds and two assists for Las Piñas, which now has a chance to arrange an unlikely Finals faceoff with Bacoor Agimat in the South Division of this youth cage tourney that has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, PLDT as official internet service provider and Manila Bulletin as media partner.
Petilla, Montero and John Cedrick Panganiban added eight markers each to go with a combined 10 boards in the win.
Jericho Mateto led Makati with a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds even as Perry Quijano and Raul Russel Isidro had 14 and 13 markers, respectively, in the loss.
Despite losing its semis incentive, the win-once Makati squad still has a fighting chance so long as it takes care of business in Game 2 against tormentor Las Pinas to advance to the championship round of the M-League that is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.
Bacoor 20 (won by default)
Las Piñas 67 – Reyes 29, Valencia D. 10, Montero 8, Panganiban 8, Petilla 8, Garcia 4, Cayabyab 0, Fontanilla 0, Ladra 0, Lampano 0, Valencia N. 0
Makati 66 – Mateto 17, Quijano 14, Isidro 11, Celis R. 9, Natividad 8, Parane 4, Raz 3, Atilon 0, Celis L. 0, Velasco 0.
Quarterscores: 17-20, 33-37, 44-55, 67-66
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