Unbeaten Bacoor Strike sa Serbisyo and second-seeded Taguig made short work of their respective semifinal foes to arrange a South Division Finals faceoff in the Metro League Reinforced (Second) Conference Thursday night at the Bacoor Strike Gym in Cavite.
Armed with twice-beat-incentives, the top seed Strikers dominated Pasigueño , 86-68, while the second-ranked Generals thumped Solid San Juan, 110-75, to advance right away in the South Division championship of the M-League that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with Barangay 143 as league presentor.
Bacoor Strike sa Serbisyo and Taguig, seeded nos. 1 & 2, respectively, in the South Division, collide in a winner-take-all South Division finale Tuesday next week at a still-to-be-determined venue.
Led by the FEU connection of Prince Orizu and RJ Ramirez, Bacoor leaped to a 28-13 first quarter lead and never left the driver’s seat since then en route to its 10th straight win after topping the elimination round with an unblemished 9-0 slate.
Orizu and Ramirez scored 15 points each in both less than 20 minutes of action to spearhead the attack of the Strikers who are three wins away from a season sweep of the M-League’s second conference which is also bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation as major sponsors.
Former San Beda reinforcement Eugene Toba Okwucukwu, meanwhile, put up 24 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in a wasted cause for the fourth-seeded Pasiguenos.
For Taguig, former PBA player Jonathan Uyloan finally broke out with a 22-point eruption on top of six rebounds and five assists.
Backstopping Uyloan — who played for Rain or Shine, NorthPort and Meralco in the pro-league — was Grevanni Rublico with 21 markers built around six triples in just 14 minutes of play together with import Emmanuel Ojuola who had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Helino Francisco and Richmero Gilbero added 11 more apiece while Martin Gozum also shared 10 markers to tow Taguig into the Finals of this M-League import-flavored conference which is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring, and Goodfellow.
Michael Canete, once again, proved to be the lone soldier fighting with 15 markers and four boards for Solid San Juan which bid goodbye to the tourney that also has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, PLDT as official internet service provider and Manila Bulletin as media partner.
Taguig 110 — Uyloan 22, Rublico 21, Ojuola 14, Gilbero 11, Francisco 11, Gozum 10, Olivera 7, Sampurna 6, Lontoc 5, Guiyab 2, Caduada 0, Mayo 0, Monte 0, Subrabas 0, Alcantara 0
San Juan 75 — Canete 15, Castro 14, Miller 9, Dada 8, Ejercito 7, Elarmo 7, Acol 6, Clarianes 5, Matias 2, Abanes 1, Astrero 1, Danas 0, Saret 0
Quarterscores: 24-21, 53-36, 86-53, 110-75
Bacoor Strike sa Serbisyo 86 — Orizu 15, Ramirez 15, Castro 10, Doligon 10, Descamento 8, Mabulac 8, Pangilinan 7, Montuano 6, Aquino 3, Acuna 2, Miranda 2, Malabg 0, Maligon 0
Pasigueno 68 — Owkuchukwu 24, Gatchalian 12, Koga 12, Gaco 9, Sorela 5, Jacinto 4, Doroteo 2
Quarterscores: 28-13, 46-34, 69-53, 86-68