Home team Manila-INGCO took down Marikina, 112-88, to seal the last playoff ticket in the North Division of the Metro League Reinforced (Second) Conference Saturday night at the San Andres Sports Complex.
Six players scored in double figured led by Almel Orquina’s 19 points for a well-balanced attack by the Stars who banked on a 38-point fourth quarter explosion to finally take the fight out of the gritty Shoelanders, and forge a North Division semifinal duel against twice-to-beat Quezon City slated Saturday, June 8.
In other games, top seed Bacoor City Strike Sa Serbisyo smothered Pateros-Metro Asia, 104-82, to cap off an elimination round sweep while Solid San Juan demolished Pasigueño, 108-94, to also wrap up its campaign on a high note heading into the playoffs of the M-League that is backed by backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and with Barangay 143 as league presentor.
It will be the Strikers and the Pasigueños facing each other in one of the South Division semifinals beginning Thursday with the former having the twice-to-beat edge. Taguig versus Solid San Juan is the other South semis pairing with the Generals having the twice-to-beat advantage.
The North Division semis pairings have yet to be decided pending the results of Tuesday’s upcoming games.
Import Moustaph Arafat had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks while James Castro contributed 13 markers to backstop Orquina for Manila which finished the elims in fourth place of the North Division with a 4-5 slate.
Mel Mabigat, for his part, unleashed a monstrous 35-point, 19-rebound outing that went for naught in the crucial loss of the Shoelanders who got eliminated with 1-7 card in the North Division.
Arellano U standout Michael Canete continued his impressive outing for Solid San Juan, delivering a game-high 34 points on a 13-of-18 field goal shooting to go along six rebounds and two assists in just 25 minutes of action.
Fidel Albert Castro also added 17 markers while American import Raymund Miller Jr. uncorked a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds on top of two steals and two blocks for Solid San Juan which ended its schedule with a 3-6 record for the fourth place heading into the South Division semi-finals of the M-League that is also bankrolled by bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation as major sponsors.
Former San Beda import Eugene Toba Okwuchukwu, on the other hand, hauled down 22 markers and seven boards for the also South Division semis-bound Pasigueños (3-5) who have still a game left in their elimination round campaign of the M-League which also has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, PLDT as official internet service provider and Manila Bulletin as media partner.
Bacoor City Agimat, meanwhile, hardly broke a sweat against already-eliminated Pateros-MetroAsia in a 22-point win behind Mark Pangilinan’s 25 markers and eight boards.
Ex-Adamson pride Dawn Ochea also came up with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Rustan Bugarin and Kenmar Miranda had 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Strikers who finished the preliminaries with an unblemished 9-0 slate.
Rickson Gerero put up 19 points, nine rebounds, and four assists for the Metro Asia-backed squad which ended up with a forgettable 1-8 record in the South Division of the M-League that is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.
Solid San Juan 108 — Canete 34, Castro 17, Miller 16, Saret 13, Dada 10, Acol 4, Astrero 2, Danas 2, Clarianes 2, Elarmo 2, Abanes 2, Ejercito 2, Matias 2, Jacunap 0
Pasigueño 94 — Okwuchukwu 22, Sorela 16, Doroteo 16, Gaco 15, Koga 10, Gatchalian 8, Jacinto 5, Caranguian 2
Quarterscores: 26-22, 48-50, 74-72, 108-94
Bacoor City Strike Sa Serbisyo 104 — Pangilinan 25, Ochea 20, Bugarin 15, Miranda 13, Ramirez 12, Descamento 9, Malabag 8, Aquino 1
Pateros-MetroAsia 82 — Gerero 19, Asis 17, Quinga 12, Go 11, Velchez 7, Marcial 6, Anasco 6, Arellano 4
Quarterscores: 13-21, 47-38, 75-61, 104-82
Manila-INGCO 112 — Orquina 19, Arafat 18, Castro 13, Camacho 11, Laude 10, Celada 10, Mendoz 9, Manalo 7, Alban 6, Acosta 6, Acibar 3, Balagtas 0
Marikina 88 –– Mabigat 35, Mario Basco Jr 18, Gines 14, Mendoza 13, Catipay 8
Quarterscores: 27-21,48-40, 74-65, 112-88