Ceres Pasalubong 2006/07 won the battle for the top spot by holding off Phoenix 1999/2k 78-75 in the 5th SJI Alumni Basketball Friendship Cup played Thursday last week at the Msgr. John B. Liu Activities Center.
Waterfull/Celcor 1993/94/95 won a pivotal match against Eleven Degrees 1996/97/98 68-60 to move into 5th place, overtaking their victim, who dropped to 6th place.
In the knockout quarterfinal matches tonight at 6:30 p.m., No. 3 Terra Dolce/Jollibee 1990/91/92 goes up against No. 6 team 11 Degrees and will be followed by the battle between No. 4 Shakeys/New Energy Mktg. and No. 5 Waterfull/Celcor at 7:45 p.m.
Ceres, which ended its elimination round campaign with a 7-1 record, posted an opening quarter lead at 17-14 behind Bren Tajonera 8 points and Alvin Dionela’s 6 points against Phoenix Rhett Demonteverde and Bogs Ongsingco 6 points apiece output.
Phoenix blanked Ceres for the first four minutes of the second quarter and took a 25-17 advantage on a Jan Jan Lopue 3-point play. Lopue finished with 12 points in the quarter.
Keith Banzon broke the ice for Ceres with a triple with 5:40 left in the quarter and Brian Coo and Raymund Lacson joined hands to force a deadlock at the break, 31 all .
Renz Mendoza contributed 10 points for Ceres in the third quarter and an Alvin Dionela layup at the 1:26 mark put Ceres on top at 47-40.
A 6-2 closing quarter run led by Paolo Li cut the deficit to 49-46 going to the fourth quarter. John Michael Moises scored 9 points for Phoenix in the quarter.
Ceres remained on top at 58-51 on a Martin Jalandoni follow up, but Ongsingco responded with two undergoal stabs to cut the lead to 3 points.
Raymund Lacson drilled five straight points for a 66-57 lead with 3:41 left.
A Demonteverde triple cut the lead to 4 points with 1:33 remaining. But Mendoza scored the next 6 points for Ceres on a 4-of-4 from the free throw area to keep Phoenix at bay while Ongsingco’s back-to-back basket drew Phoenix closer at 76-72 with 12. 6 seconds left.
Raymund Lacson and Dionela split their free throws to produce the final score for Ceres as Demonteverde made a triple at the buzzer for the final tally.
Mendoza paced Ceres with 16 points, Brian Coo and Lacson added 15 points apiece, Dionela made 11 points, Tajonera scored 8 points, and Jalandoni with 6 points.
Phoenix ended up at 6-2 losing back-to-back games to Shakey’s and Ceres was led by Demonteverde’s 19 points, Lopue picked up 18 points, Ongsingco shot 16 points, and Paolo Li with 9 points.
In the other game, Waterfull slowly built their lead in the first three quarters by outscoring Eleven Degrees in all quarters for a 50-41 lead.
Eleven Degrees made a late push cutting the lead to four points but back-to-back triple by Michael Ang sealed the victory for Celcor.
Vincent Javelosa spearheaded Waterfull with 17 points backstopped by Michael Ang with 11, Julius Teruel and Vincent Javelosa scored 10 points each and Tubby Villanueva had 6 points.
Berto Uy finished with 17 points, Dino Tongco scored 15, Arvin Chua and Tim Garrucho made 7 points each, Siote Diente delivered 6 points.*with a report from Stephen Tan
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