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Zamboanga shocks Batangas City to open MPBL South Playoffs

Alvin Pasaol gives a low-five to Anton Asistio after the latter scored on a triple. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Zamboanga went on upset mode on Monday night as the team stunned Batangas City, 78-74, at the start of the MPBL Southern Division Playoffs at the PetroGazz Arena in Davao City.

The fifth-seeded Zamboanga squad pulled off the shocker against the fourth-seeded Batangas City, the inaugural champion of the regional league, in an essential home game with the match being held in Mindanao, although the latter had a chance to steal the win.

Zamboanga, which held Batangas City to just seven points in the second quarter, held a 76-67 lead with 3:37 left, but the latter went on a 7-0 run afterward to cut the lead down to two, 76-74, with 15.3 seconds.

Zamboanga eventually held on as Robin Roño sank two dagger free throws to ice the game.

"We need to stay composed kasi playoffs na ito. Good thing we stuck on our defensive plan in the end. We made stops, we controlled the rebounds and hit the crucial free throws," head coach Britt Reroma said.

Davao native Alvin Pasaol made 17 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, and two blocks for Zamboanga, which can complete the sweep of their best-of-three series against Batangas City on Friday night as the series shifts to the Batangas City Sports Center. Roño added 13 points, eight rebounds, and one assist.

Jeff Viernes led Batangas City, which played without Gilas Pilipinas Men pool members Rey Suerte and Jaydee Tungcab, who joined the national team practice in Pasig, with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block.

The Scores:

Zamboanga-Family's Brand Sardines 78 - Pasaol 17, Roño 13, Black 11, Arboleda 10, Santillan 7, Asistio 7, Bonsubre 4, De Vera 3, Villamor 3, Thiele 3, Manzo 0, Reyes 0.

Batangas City-Tanduay 74 - Viernes 18, Eguilos 16, Santos 11, Melano 10, Bragais 9, Teodoro 5, Grimaldo 4, Koga 1, Basibas 0, Rogado 0, Lopez 0.

Quarterscores: 22-25, 40-32, 57-54, 78-74.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno