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Mandaue escapes late Lapu-Lapu run to book VisMin Cup finals seat

Gryann Mendoza led Mandaue to the VisMin Super Cup Visayas finals. Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas/Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup
By Dugout Philippines

ALCANTARA—KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue proved sharper down the stretch, outlasting gallant ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu City, 74-64, in the do-or-die semifinals of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, Wednesday evening at the Civic Center here in Cebu.

KCS will now move on to the finals where they will face off against unbeaten MJAS Zenith-Talisay City. Game One of the best-of-three series is on Friday at 6 p.m.

After a sorry showing in their first match-up on Tuesday wherein he managed a measly five points, Gryann Mendoza bounced back in a huge way as he tallied 25 points—on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc—to go with eight rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocks.

The Davaoeno also made several crucial plays that stymied ARQ’s comeback attempt from a 15-point deficit in the fourth canto. 

With KCS on the verge of blowing the game wide open after they erected a 60-45 lead early in the final period, ARQ’s veteran wingman Jojo Tangkay refused to back down and scored nine points in a five-minute stretch to bring his team to within two, 62-64, with just 3:27 to go. 

However, Mendoza quickly doused water on the raging fire as he calmly sank a pull-up jumper at the keyhole to raise their lead back to four, 66-62. Then, after ARQ’s Dawn Ochea lost the ball to the baseline, Mendoza drove down the right-wing and found a cutting Michole Sorela for an easy two that brought KCS’ lead to six, 68-62, with 1:25 remaining. 

Ochea then missed a straightaway three-pointer and KCS guard Ping Exciminiano helped KCS secure the win by dropping a picture perfect dime to Al Francis Tamsi who scored on an undergoal stab that proved to be the telling blow to ARQ’s finals hopes.

KCS head coach Mike Reyes shared that he threw all the stats and planning out the window for this game. Instead, before the game, he just motivated his team to play with more passion after Tuesday’s lackluster effort.

“Wala nang Xs and Os. We already knew how they play and they knew how we play. It’s all about who will want it more,” said Reyes. “I didn’t write anything on the board nor did we talk about any plays. I just gave them a small pep talk to motivate them a little bit.”

Nobody else scored in double-figures for KCS with Tamsi being the next high scorer with seven points along with three rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

Reed Juntilla, who had been averaging 22.6 points in the last three games, was limited to just 13 points on 6-of-17 from the field. Tangkay finished with 12 markers while Ochea, who had a monstrous game on Tuesday with 15 points and 16 rebounds, was held down to just 11 points and five boards.

The Scores:

KCS-Mandaue 74 - Mendoza 25, Tamsi 7, Sorela 6, Imperial 6, Octobre 5, Exciminiano 5, Soliva 5, Nalos 4, Bregondo 4, Roncal 3, Bonganciso 2, Cachuela 2, Delator 0, Mercader 0.

ARQ Lapu-Lapu 64 - Juntilla 13, Tangkay 12, Ochea 11, Lusdoc 6, Canada 6, Minguito 4, Mondragon 3, Galvez 2, Arong M. 1, Senining 0, Arong F. 0.

Quarterscores: 28-15, 46-32, 57-45, 74-64.

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