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Pasig subdues San Juan at start of MPBL Invitational playoffs

San Juan Knights team owner Jinggoy Estrada congratulates Pasig's Fran Yu after the game. Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas/MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Pasig once again relied on the heroics of Fran Yu down the stretch to hold off San Juan, 70-66, at the start of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational quarterfinals on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Yu scored the last eight points for the Realtors including a shot-clock buzzer-beating baseline jumper that gave them enough cushion to depose the Knights, who have been in step with them almost all game long.

Yu began his endgame attack with a split from the line with 3:43 to play and his team up, 63-60.

He then tallied back-to-back field goals, a crucial layup off a steal from Orlan Wamar and the eventual dagger jumper with 1:35 remaining on the game clock and the shot-clock reading zeroes, for a 67-63 Pasig lead.

Wamar bounced back from his earlier turnover and kept San Juan in the game with a three-pointer off a loose ball scramble that cut the lead down to one, 67-66, with 46 seconds left.

But Yu collared the offensive rebound off a Ryan Costelo miss and made two free throws off a Jhonard Clarito foul to up the lead to three, 69-66, with 30 seconds to go.

Jeckster Apinan then appeared to have saved the game after stealing the ball from Rhenz Abando, but Jeric Teng missed two potential dagger free throws, giving the Knights 10 seconds to force overtime.

Abando, however, failed to secure a pass from Wamar and lost the ball with three seconds left.

Yu eventually sealed the win with a split from the line with 2.6 seconds on the clock.

Jhaps Bautista led Pasig, which will face the winner of the ongoing match-up between Basilan and Mindoro in Wednesday's semifinals, with 12 points, four rebounds, and one assist.

Yu and Arana finished with 11 points each with the latter also grabbing 11 rebounds for the double-double and four blocks.

JM Calma made 13 markers, 10 boards, one block, and one steal for San Juan.

The Scores:

Pasig-Sta. Lucia (70) – Bautista 12, Yu 11, Arana 11, Apinan 10, Lingganay 9, Mina 6, Costelo 4, Teng 4, Ablaza 3, Sangalang 0, Chan 0.

San Juan-GFG AICC (66) – Calma 13, Rodriguez 10, Abando 10, Wamar 7, Clarito 7, Nocum 5, Isit 5, Melano 5, Abundo 4, Manzo 0.

Quarterscores: 17-20, 40-39, 54-54, 70-66.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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