Jong Baloria spearheaded a huge fourth quarter rally to lift third seed Makati-Super Crunch past sixth-seed Bulacan, 94-88, taking Game One of their 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan North quarterfinals series, Tuesday at the San Andres Sports Complex.
With Makati down by six points in the final frame, Baloria fired seven points in a telling 14-0 rally. That gave his side its first lead since the 7:05-mark of the first quarter, 81-74, with 4:42 left to play.
JR Alabanza and Oliver Arim, though, managed to pull Bulacan to within two points.
Joseph Sedurifa and Joshua Torralba then took the scoring cudgels from Baloria. The two poured in 11 consecutive points to put up a 13-point cushion for Makati, 94-81, with 32 seconds left to play.
Rev Diputado tried to salvage the win for Bulacan with seven straight points, but time clearly was not on their side. Makati eventually took the 1-0 series advantage.
“Naging patient lang kami sa depensa. Tumaas ‘yung energy, tsaka gumanda ‘yung shooting percentage namin. Naging consistent lang din kami sa depensa,” said Makati head coach Beaujing Acot on his wards’ late fight back.
Baloria led Makati’s offensive attack with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, along with three rebounds and two assists.
Sedurifa finished with 17 points, seven boards, four assists, and two steals, while Cedric Ablaza had 17 markers as well. Torralba chipped in 15 points founded on three treys in the victory.
On the other hand, Bulacan was led by Jovit Dela Cruz and Diputado with 17 points apiece.
Game Two will be on February 22 at the Makati Coliseum.
Makati-Super Crunch (94) — Baloria 20, Sedurifa 17, Ablaza 17, Torralba 15, Apinan 9, Atkins 6, Importante 3, Cruz 3, Lingganay 2, Villanueva 2.
Bulacan (88) — Diputado 17, Dela Cruz 17, Alabanza 13, Siruma 10, Escosio 7, Nermal 6, Capacio 6, Santos 6, Taganas 4, Arim 2, Alvarez 0, De Mesa 0.
Quarterscores: 15-24, 37-44, 62-66, 88-94.
Story by Jonash Dannug
Photo by Thel Suliva