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Pasig clinches MPBL playoff spot with hard-fought win vs. Navotas

Jeric Teng scorched for 30 points again for the Realtors. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

BIÑAN—Pasig secured the seventh seat in the MPBL Northern Division Playoffs after edging Navotas, 107-100, at the Alonte Sports Arena on Saturday night.

The Realtors clinched a postseason berth despite a gallant fight from the also-ran Clutch, who looked to close out their season on a high note.

Navotas actually had a solid start, even taking a 16-12 lead with 4:03 left in the first quarter, but Pasig went on a 15-0 afterward to go up, 27-16.

The Clutch remained in step with the Realtors in the second quarter, but the latter still got to reopen a double-digit lead as high as 14, 53-39, with 1:36 left before halftime.

While Pasig remained in control for most of the third quarter, opening its largest lead at 15, 73-58, Navotas came alive in the fourth and was within six, 87-81, with 7:26 left.

The Realtors went on a 7-0 run to reestablish the double-digit lead and eventually stretched it back to 15, 102-87, with 2:19 to play.

The Clutch still tried to mount a comeback by going on a 6-0 run to trim the lead to just nine, 102-93, with 1:34 to play, but it turned out to be their last gasp.

Jeric Teng erupted for 30 points with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block, while Josan Nimes added 22 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal off the bench for Pasig, which moved up to 17-11.

Now in the playoffs, the team still has a chance to go as high as fourth place in the North if it sweeps its remaining two games against Valenzuela on Friday night and Pampanga, another team chasing a Top 4 finish, on Feb. 5.

The Realtors are currently 1.5 games behind the Giant Lanterns and the Bulacan Kuyas (both at 18-9) for the fourth and fifth spots in the North standings.

Osama Abdurasad put up 18 points, one rebound, and three assists to lead Navotas, which finished its campaign at 7-22.

The team actually had one postponed game against Rizal, but with both teams already out of playoff contention, the MPBL opted not to push through with the game.

The Scores:

Pasig-Sta. Lucia 107 - Teng 30, Nimes 22, Mendoza 15, Manalang 15, Najorda 12, Gotladera 6, Tamayo 3, Velchez 2, Chavenia 2, Medina 0, Grealy 0, Canon 0.

Navotas Uni-pak Sardines 100 - Abdurasad 18, Bondoc 17, Andaya 13, Gonzales 13, Guillen 11, Cabahug 11, Evangelista 6, Melegrito 6, Prudente 3, Matillano 2, Vicencio 0, Soriano 0, Mamaclay 0, Bautista 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 53-42, 85-74, 107-100.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno