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Despite surprise homecourt disadvantage, Makati clinches MPBL playoffs versus Bulacan

The Skyscrapers are moving up to the next round. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—If the MPBL Playoffs hosting format is to be followed, Makati, the third seed in the Northern Division, should have hosted Saturday night's doubleheader.

However, some concerns regarding the Makati Coliseum prompted the league to find another arena. The Skyscrapers pitched the Guadalupe Viejo Gym, but MPBL technical committee head George Magsino deemed the place not suitable enough.

The league eventually elected to bring the games to the Malolos Sports and Convention Center, giving Bulacan the surprise homecourt edge despite being the sixth seed in the North.

In the end, the Skyscrapers defied the odds.

Makati moved on to the next round of the postseason after ousting Bulacan, 86-78.

Despite giving up the lead at the end of the first quarter to the delight of the Kuyas' fans, the Skyscrapers eventually silenced them in the second quarter, holding them to just 14 points before taking a 41-39 lead at halftime. Makati used the halftime advantage as a platform to slowly pull away from Bulacan.

"Losing the homecourt, sabi ko na we just have to stay together," said Skycrapers coach Beaujing Acot.

Ced Ablaza and Josh Torralba each netted 22 points for Makati, which will next face Manila in the quarterfinal round, also known as the divisional semifinals starting next Saturday. Joseph Sedurifa added a double-double of 13 rebounds and 11 points with five assists and one steal.

Stephen Siruma put up 16 markers, four boards, one dime, one steal, and one block, while JR Alabanza added 11 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and four blocks for Bulacan.

The Scores:

Makati-Super Crunch 86 - Ablaza 22, Torralba 22, Apinan 16, Sedurifa 11, Baloria 8, Atkins 3, Cruz 2, Lingganay 2, Manlangit 0, Importante 0.

Bulacan 78 - Siruma 16, Dela Cruz 12, Alabanza 11, Nermal 10, Alvarez 9, Santos 7, Capacio 4, Taganas 3, Arim 3, Diputado 3, Escosio 0.

Quarterscores: 22-25, 41-39, 65-59, 86-78.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno