Mighty Davao Occidental and the Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Higalas their titular showdown in the finals after they disposed of their respective opponents in the semifinals of the Pilipinas Super League Pearl of the Orient Cup on Wednesday night at the Manuel Roxas Sports Complex.
CDO showed incredible resiliency as they upset second-seeded Roxas, 82-80, in overtime to sweep their best-of-three semifinals series, 2-0.
Davao Occidental also routed the Basilan BRT, 70-55, to also sweep their semis affair and move on to the finals where they try to add another title to their already burgeoning trophy case.
The Higalas found themselves in trouble as they trailed by eight, 57-65, late in the fourth when forward Nichole Ubalde gave them a spark. He first sank a triple and then, assisted on a basket by Red Cachuela, before making a tough layup to pull CDO to within one, 64-65, with 1:33 remaining in regulation.
Both teams made one big shot after another but it appeared as if Roxas would live to fight another day when big man Jerick Nacpil sank a difficult bank shot to put the Vanguards in front, 70-68, with just six seconds left to play.
However, CDO answered right back, with John Tayongtong draining a tough baseline jumper to knot the count at 70-all and send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Higalas built a five-point lead, 81-76, after clutch makes by Cachuela and Aaron Royo. But Roxas relented and trimmed the deficit to just one, 80-81, after makes from Oliver De Guzman and Papart Mandreza.
Roxas even had a chance to retake the lead but Levi dela Cruz missed his three-point try. CDO’s Janus Lozada touched the ball last on the rebound scrum to give the ball back to Roxas.
Cachuela then came up with the game’s defensive stop as he blocked Wowie Escosio’s baseline jumper with seven seconds left in overtime. John Reel Saycon then sealed the victory for CDO by splitting his charities with 3.2 ticks remaining.
Cachuela and Royo led CDO in scoring with 14 points each, while Ubalde had 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Lozada added 11 markers.
Nacpil paced Roxas with 24 points.
Meanwhile, Davao Occidental bucked a slow start before dominating the next 30 minutes of action to oust Basilan.
Basilan was determined to send the series to a rubber match as they led by as much as 11, 14-3. However, the Tigers kept their composure and answered with a 25-11 blast in the second to take a 33-25 halftime lead.
Davao Occidental kept the pressure up and opened the third with a 17-5 run to build their largest lead of the game, 50-30.
Emman Calo stuffed the stat sheet as he produced 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Keith Agovida added 12 points and eight boards, while Gab Dagangon chipped in 10.