John Wilson came alive late to save North top seed San Juan-Go for Gold from the clutches of eighth-seed Pasay, 75-74, drawing first blood in their 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season Quarterfinals bout, Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
With the scores locked at 71-all, Wilson drained a booming triple to give the Knights a 74-71 cushion with 1:31 left in the game.
Jhonard Clarito then clinched the game for good with a split from the charity line.
Pasay’s Ronnel Lastimosa, though, hit a buzzer-beating trey to settle the final score at 75-74.
Wilson — who only had a point in the first half — scored eight of San Juan’s last eight points. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting along with eight rebounds and three steals.
“Number one ‘yung defense. Nakakuha kami ng mga turnovers doon kay [Jaypee] Belencion, ‘yung mga forced shots nila. Plus ‘yung hustle ng mga player [na] talagang hindi gumive up,” said San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara on his wards’ late fightback.
Down by nine points, Wilson kick-started a 12-0 blast, 67-64, to give the Knights their first lead since the 4:05-minute mark of the opening salvo at 10-8.
Mike Ayonayon topped the scoring charts for San Juan with 15 points, five assists, and two steals. Meanwhile, Clarito chipped in 13 markers and nine boards.
On the other hand, Pasay was spearheaded by Axel Iñigo’s 24-point performance founded on four triples.
Elmar Moradas added 13 points off the bench, while Jaypee Belencion poured all of his 11 points in the third quarter.
Game Two takes place on Thursday at the AUF Gym in Pampanga.
San Juan 75 — Ayonayon 15, Clarito 13, Rodriguez 11, Wilson 11, Estrella 8, Wamar 7, Isit 6, Aquino 4, Tajonera 0, Victoria 0, Pelayo 0, Reyes 0, Gabawan 0, Bunag 0.
Pasay 74 — Inigo 24, Moradas 13, Belencion 11, Ilagan 9, Reverente 8, Lastimosa 3, Chan 2, Lasquety 2, Pasia 2, Opiso 0.
Quarterscores: 13-24, 28-36, 53-60, 75-74.
Story by Jonash Dannug
Photo by Joaqui Flores