Second seed Manila-Frontrow survived a huge fourth quarter surge by third-ranked Makati-Super Crunch, 77-74, to take Game One of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan North semifinals at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Stars were in control of the match for the first three quarters, but Makati remained unfazed.
Trailing by 11 points with 3:48 left on the clock, Makati clawed its way back with 11 unanswered points. Rudy Lingganay’s six straight points capped the run, knotting the game at 72, with 44 seconds left.
Carlo Lastimosa had other plans, though. He sank a corner three-pointer with 40.4 ticks remaining for the go-ahead basket, giving the Stars the lead for good.
“Na-rattle din kami sa press nila kaya sila nakahabol. Buti na lang, mentally tough ‘yung players, thanks to Carlo Lastimosa’s clutch shots,” said Manila coach Tino Pinat.
Jong Baloria still retaliated with a layup on the other end, trimming the Super Crunch-backed deficit to just a point, 75-74 with 28.5 seconds left.
Playing honest defense on the next play, Makati forced Lastimosa into a miss then a scramble for a loose ball occurred. Unfortunately, Baloria saved it to the wrong man.
Lastimosa then drained his two freebies, while Baloria badly missed on his game-tying triple attempt.
Lastimosa finished with 25 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Aris Dionisio chalked up 12 markers and seven boards. Chris Bitoon had 11 points, six dimes, and five boards while Ronnie Matias provided nine markers and nine rebounds.
On the other hand, Jeckster Apinan paced Makati with 17 points and 11 rebounds but committed seven turnovers. Baloria delivered 16 markers.
Game Two is on Wednesday, March 4 at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
Manila-Frontrow 77 — Lastimosa 25, Dionisio 12, Bitoon 11, Matias 9, Dyke 6, Gabriel 5, Espinas 3, Abrigo 2, Tallo 2, Lopez 2, Go 0, Lee 0.
Makati-Super Crunch 74 — Apinan 17, Baloria 16, Ablaza 10, Sedurifa 10, Villanueva 8, Lingganay 8, Torralba 3, Cruz 2, Atkins 0, Manlangit 0.
Quarterscores: 18-10, 43-28, 62-52, 77-74.
Story by Justin Valencia