PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — A strong third-quarter surge is becoming a thing for Jumbo Plastic-Basilan.
Last Wednesday, the Peace Riders stamped their class on Visayas titlists KCS-Mandaue, 94-67, to gain a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Southern Finals, here at the Pagadian City Gymnasium.
And that margin ballooned because of a third-frame storm released by Basilan.
“Noong first half, we couldn’t pull away kasi on some plays, disorganized kami sa executions,” said Peace Riders head coach Jerson Cabiltes.
“Sinabihan ko lang sila na just follow the pattern sa executions at mas tigasan pa ang depensa.”
A 31-15 eruption by Basilan to open the second half erected a once-13 point lead to a 29-point advantage entering the fourth, 75-46.
Meanwhile, in their Mindanao championship-clinching Game Two against Petra Cement-Roxas last Monday, another rally put the Vanguards to rest.
The Peace Riders, down by two, just exploded for a 35-point third salvo while holding Roxas to just 19. They established a 67-53 cushion before putting the finishing touches in the ensuing quarter.
The similarity between those two game-changing runs was Cabiltes’ halftime pep talk, and the players responding.
“They are veterans. Naiintindihan nila ako, naiintindihan nila ‘yung gusto kong mangyari. Naiintindihan ko rin sila,” the Basilan head tactician said.
“Ang most important thing dito is ‘yung acceptance kung ano ‘yung binigay sayong role.”
Despite the massive 27-point victory, Cabiltes still reminded his wards to stay focused come the next game.
After all, Mandaue is a giant slayer, beating MJAS Zenith Talisay who also swept the eliminations, in the Visayas Finals.
“Don’t be over complacent. One game pa lang ito, we still need two more,” said Cabiltes.
“Ngayon kahit manalo ka ng one point or manalo ka by 30, the next day balik sa 0-0 ‘yan. So we have to be ready for the fightback.”