BACOOR CITY — Third-ranked Basilan-Jumbo Plastic rode the hot hands of Allyn Bulanadi to eliminate second seed Bacoor, 84-76, and barge into the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South Division Finals, Saturday at the Strike Gymnasium here.
Bulanadi, a national team pool member, exploded with 35 points built on six triples, on top of seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Protecting a slim one-point edge, 66-65, Steel’s Jhapz Bautista drained a triple for some cushioning. But Melencio answered back with his own version of a trey, 69-68.
Bobby Balucanag then made a layup, before Melencio fired another three-pointer to knot the game at 71-all with 2:49 left.
Bulanadi had other plans, though. He drained three treys — from the left corner; from the top of the arc; and an off-the-screen, one-legged leaning shot — to build an 80-71 advantage with 1:31 left on the clock.
“Allyn hit the biggest shots of the game that pulled us to the victory… That is why he is in the Gilas program,” said Basilan coach Jerson Cabiltes.
Michael Mabulac and Mark Pangilinan tried to stage a comeback with five straight markers. Unfortunately for them, Basilan’s Jay Collado completely iced the match with four freebies.
Collado had a field day with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Bautista added 13 markers.
On the other hand, Melencio carried the fight for Bacoor with 22 points on 7-of-14 clip alongside five rebounds and four assists.
Pangilinan dropped 11 markers, while Mabulac tallied a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Steel will tangle with South kings Davao Occidental-Cocolife in the best-of-three division finals.
Basilan-Jumbo Plastic 84 – Bulanadi 35, Collado 18, Bautista 13, Manalang 4, Dumapig 4, Balucanag 4, Gabo 2, Palencia 2, Uyloan 2, Hallare 0, Bringas 0, Daa 0.
Bacoor 76 – Melencio 22, Pangilinan 11, Mabulac 10, Montuano 8, Acuña 7, Cañete 5, Castro 4, Aquino 3, Demusis 2, Ramirez 2, Sumalinog 2, Destacamento.
Quarterscores: 19-22, 41-35, 60-56, 84-76.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Nicks Hernandez