Zamboanga KOs Macau to enter TAT Passi leg semis

Zamboanga Valientes guard Mike Tolomia attacks the Macau Black Bears’ defense. TAT
By Dugout Philippines

PASSI--The Zamboanga Valientes booted out Guangdong leg champions Macau Black Bears, 90-82, to secure the second seed in Group B and punch their ticket to the semifinals of the second leg of The Asian Tournament, Friday, at the City of Passi Arena here.

The Valientes almost crumbled in the end but managed to pull out all the stops needed to come out on top and grab the No. 2 spot with a 2-1 record behind the top-ranked Taipei Mustangs, who finished the group phase with a perfect 3-0 slate.

Despite missing two of their top stars Damian Chongqui and Momo Kone, the Black Bears still put up a fight after Kei Long Leong scored six consecutive points, including a rare four-point play, in an 8-0 run to slice Zamboanga’s 14-point advantage to just six, 77-83, with 2:21 left in the match.

However, the Valientes’ composure prevailed as veterans Rickey Brice, Nick Evans, Mike Tolomia, and Frankie Johnson delivered crucial buckets and took turns fending off the Black Bears to complete the win.

Johnson, a former PBA player, scored a game-high 24 points built on four triples to go along with two assists and three steals to lead Zamboanga, which is supported by Col. Ariel Querubin, Mayor John Dalipe, Rep. Mannix Dalipe, Rep. Kyhmer Olaso, Cory Navarro, Mike Venezuela, Mayor Juris Sucro, and Jeremy Go.

Malick Diouf added 12 points and seven rebounds. Evans tallied a double-double of 11 points and 13 boards, while Brice registered 11 points to go along with eight rebounds.

ZamboangueƱos Alfaro and Tolomia steadied the ship for the Philippine-based club. The former, who serves as the team’s captain, had 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, while the latter chipped in 10 markers and six dimes.

Other homegrown standouts such as Rudy Lingganay and Job Alcantara also came up huge for the Valientes, who are backed by Cocogen, Midas, Go for Gold, Arena Plus, Midas, MLV, Casino Plus, JT Sports and Taza Manila.

On the other hand, Tyrone Nesby’s 38-point explosion went down the drain as Macau dropped to the classification phase with a 1-2 record. Zamboanga Valientes will face the top-ranked squad from Pool A in the knockout semis on Sunday, 7 p.m. at the same venue.

Follow the site on X: @DugoutPH@DugoutPH