PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Mac Cardona played his best game in a Zamboangq City jersey in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, Sunday night.
The 39-year-old veteran help lifted JPS to a 70-68 escape over second seed Clarin to grab Game One of the best-of-three semifinals first phase at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
Cardona was everywhere, unloading a season-high 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
But for Zamboanga head coach Tony Pardo, that was just a “better game” by Cardona.
“From all our games, this was the better one. Not the best because the best is yet to come,” said Pardo.
But Captain Hook’s best contribution didn’t come from scoring the ball. It came from his timely assists.
With the match knotted at 66, the selfless Cardona made one of the most important plays for JPS to secure the win.
He received the ball at the post, taking a quick spin forcing Clarin’s Johnry Pancho to help. But at the last second, Cardona found the wide-open Jerome Ferrer for an easy layup and the go-ahead basket with 1:53 to go.
Overall, the La Salle product was responsible for nine of JPS’s 15 fourth quarter points.
Those came from two assists to Gabby Espinas, the dish to Ferrer, and two points off a putback from his own miss.
“‘Yung experience, ‘yung leadership, ‘yan ang nadadala ni Mac sa amin. He is just a born leader,” said Pardo.
Zamboanga looks to finish off the Sto. Niño and advance to the second phase of the semis today when they collide at 4:00 PM.