Makati trips Manila in OT thriller to clinch MPBL North Finals spot

Just missing out on clinching the win in regulation, the Skyscrapers took control of the overtime period to join the Knights in the North finals. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—When Josh Torralba appeared to have won it for Makati with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, the team went into frenzy in front of a stunned jampacked crowd at the San Andres Sports Complex here cheering for Manila one more time in the MPBL North Division Semifinals.

However, the Skyscrapers' celebration abruptly ended when replays showed that Torralba still held the ball when the clock expired, and the referees nullified the basket, giving the Stars another five minutes to salvage their season.

Joseph Sedurifa then put on a show.

Sedurifa dropped three straight triples in overtime to complete Makati's conquest of Manila on the road through a 78-75 win on Friday night to clinch the last seat in the North Division Finals.

After two free throws from Vince Importante to officially put the Skyscrapers up, Sedurifa went to work, dropping a trey after another to stretch their lead to five, 78-73, with 1:17 to play.

The Stars still put up a fight in the end as Chris Bitoon scored on a fastbreak layup to cut the lead down to three with 13.5 seconds left.

They then forced Sedurifa to a five-second inbound violation, giving them 10.2 seconds to force another extension.

But Makati's defense broke Manila's intended play, forcing Aris Dionisio to a wild triple from the corner that he muffed as time expired.

Jong Baloria scored 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block for the Skyscrapers, who will now take on the San Juan Knights in the North finals next week. Sedurifa finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and four blocks off the bench.

Bitoon came up with 16 markers, eight boards, six dimes, and one steal to lead the Stars, but he too committed six turnovers as they reeled from the loss of Carlo Lastimosa, who injured his leg right at the start of the game.

Mark Dyke added 15 points, 10 caroms, two dimes, and one steal, while Dionisio also had 15 points with nine rebounds, three assists, four blocks, and two steals.

The Scores:

Makati-Super Crunch (78) -- Baloria 16, Sedurifa 12, Torralba 11, Ablaza 9, Lingganay 8, Villanueva 7, Importante 6, Apinan 4, Atkins 3, Cruz 2.

Manila-Frontrow (75) -- Bitoon 16, Dyke 15, Dionisio 15, Arellano 8, Go 8, Espinas 5, Abrigo 4, Matias 2, Gabriel 2, Lopez 0, Montilla 0, Lastimosa 0

Quarterscores: 18-23, 39-33, 54-56, 67-67, 78-75

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