San Juan and Pasig repeated over their rivals and arranged a semifinal clash in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Knights weathered Valenzuela’s final assault to prevail, 90-79, while Realtors turned hot in the fourth quarter to rout the Quezon City MG Cars Capitals, 101-83.
In the series’ openers on October 18, San Juan won, 90-82, and so did Pasig, 84-80, in overtime.
San Juan Go for Gold and Pasig thus cut short their respective best-of-three quarterfinal playoffs and forged another best-of-3 affair in the North division semifinals starting on November 7.
Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty rallied to within 74-82 with still 1 minute and 57 seconds to go, but back-to-back triples by Judel Fuentes and Dexter Maiquez pushed San Juan beyond reach, 88-74, less than a minute left.
Maiquez wound up with a game-high 20 points plus six rebounds, but it was Fuentes who earned best player honors after compiling 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, and five steals.
Other major contributors for San Juan Coach Randy Alcantara were Michael Calisaan with 14 points plus four rebounds, Orlan Wamar with 10 points, three rebounds plus three assists, and Marwin Taywan 10 points, eight coming in the early part of the last quarter.
Valenzuela got 17 points and 14 rebounds from Jaymar Gimpayan, 14 points and eight rebounds from Reneford Ruaya, 12 points from Lord Hower Casajeros and 11 points from veteran Cyrus Baguio.
The Realtors of Coach Ogie Gumatay again felt some pressure when the Capitals threatened at 65-62 after the third quarter.
Ryan Paule Costelo, however, found his mark and Carlo Lastimosa sustained his game-long brilliance to put the Realtors back on safe ground, 90-72.
Lastimosa finished with 24 points, four rebounds, and two steals and was named the game’s best player. Costelo dropped all of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to go with four assists and three rebounds, while Robbie Manalang tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Jason Melano was steady as usual with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Rey Peralta chipped in 10 points for Pasig.
Quezon City bowed out despite the 20-point effort of Kentoy Segura, the 14-point output of Adrian Celada, and the 12-point, 14-assists, eight rebounds line of Marcy Arellano. Kyle Neypes and Levi Dela Cruz contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, to no avail.