Kings zero in on eliminations sweep with win over Lions


SAN JUAN and Bicol pulled off cliffhangers against Sta. Rosa Laguna and 1Munti, respectively, on Wednesday night in the Manila Bankers Life-Pilipinas Super League Pro Division Second Conference Dumper Cup at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

The Kings leaned on guard Orlan Wamar’s two free throws in the last nine seconds and watched Lions counterpart Jeramer Cabanag make only two of his three charities with no time left to essay a 71-70 escape.

Wamar fired a game-high 22 points and had five assists for San Juan, while Jaymo Eguilos added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Rence Nocum also had 11 points and six rebounds as the Kings, who have long gained the No. 1 seed and a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals, scored a fitting follow up to an 86-77 victory over Pampanga Royce Hotel last Saturday and moved within a win of an eliminations sweep with a 14-0 card.

Sta. Rosa failed to recover from a 70-78 defeat to the Pampanga G Lanterns last Monday and wound up its eliminations campaign with a 10-5 card in the tourney presented by Dumper party-list, Winzir, and Skin Care Depot, co-presented by SCD Cosmetics, and supported by NET 25, Adcon, Wcube Solutions Inc., MDC, Unisol, Don Benitos, and Finn Cotton, with Philippine Basketball Association and Gilas Pilipinas great Marc Pingris serving as commissioner.

Joshua Abastilla knocked down a backbreaking jumper in the last 56 seconds that lifted the Spicy Oragons to a 133-132 overtime squeaker over the Emeralds.

Ronnel Guerrero sizzled with 41 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Bicol, while Rey Ygot had 26 points and 11 rebounds.

Abastilla, Christopher Menguez, John Olegario, Joshua Pabilona finished with 17, 13, 12, and 11 points, respectively, for the Oragons.

Cabanag paced the Lions with 13 points, while Ronnie Matias and Dhon Reverente combined for 20 points.

The top four teams after the eliminations will be armed with win-once incentives in the quarterfinals against the fifth to eight-ranked squads. The crossover semifinals will be best-of-three duels.

The finals will be a race-to-two battle.

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