Roxas seals Mindanao Leg Finals berth, outlasts Zamboanga City


Petra Cement-Roxas marched into the Mindanao Leg Finals after trouncing fancied Zamboanga City, 83-72, in the do-or-die Game Three of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup semifinals phase two on Friday night.

The fourth-seeded Vanguards will meet Jumbo Plastic-Basilan, who gained an outright Finals berth after sweeping the eliminations, in the best-of-three Finals, commencing on Sunday at 7 pm at the Pagadian City Gymnasium in Zamboanga del Sur.

Already leading by seven, Roxas then outscored its foes in the third canto, 23-16, to build a 14-point advantage heading into the payoff period, 66-52.

“I reminded my players that Zamboanga has more veteran players than us but we also have the experience that can step up – and they did it tonight,” said Vanguards head coach Eddie Laure.

Seven was the closest JPS could get in the fourth, 71-78, on free throws of Fran Yu with 1:58 left.

But the Vanguards held on to book their seat in the Finals.

Things got heated at the 1:32 mark of the third frame when Jerwin Gaco and Leo Najorda figured on a rebound battle with their arms entangled. The two then shoved each other before Jordan Sta. Ana came to Najorda’s defense, pushing Gaco.

Gaco, Najorda, and Sta. Ana all merited technical fouls.

Sta. Ana picked the best game to show his offensive prowess, firing 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal.

Najorda finished with 16 points, all coming from the second half. Lester Reyes netted 13 points and 12 rebounds.

MVP candidate James Castro stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.

Gabby Espinas paced JPS with 16 points and seven rebounds. Also contributing was Jaypee Belencion with 14 points and five rebounds.

Mac Cardona, who was playing with a hamstring injury, went scoreless in nine minutes of action.

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