PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Petra Cement-Roxas grabbed the last ticket to the second phase of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup semifinals, Monday evening.
The fourth seed Vanguards had a hot start and never let go of the lead to boot out third-ranked home team Pagadian, 67-61, here at the City Gymnasium.
Roxas raced to a 24-10 first quarter and never looked back to set a date with Zamboanga City in the semis round 2 on Wednesday, 6 pm.
“Naging motivation talaga namin ‘yung talo namin sa Pagadian noong elimination round kaya kami nag extra work, nag work hard pa,” said Vanguards coach Eddie Laure.
Two charity stripe shots by Keanu Caballero with 1:06 left in the game put Pagadian’s deficit to just four, 58-62.
But the Vanguards was steady from the free throw line down the stretch en route to the series sweep.
Jhong Bondoc, James Castro, and Leo Najorda went 5-of-6 from the line to seal the victory.
It did not help the Explorers’ fate that main guy Rich Guinitaran suffered a left knee injury with seven minutes left in the third quarter and was unable to return. He left with just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Castro played all but two minutes, finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and a steal for Roxas.
Francis Camacho chipped in 13 points while Bondoc had 10 points and six rebounds.
Najorda just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. Point guard JK Casiño also grabbed 10 rebounds to go with five points and four assists.
The Vanguards held Pagadian to just 19-of-73 from the field, a measly 26 percent.
Christian Manalo paced the Explorers with 12 points and nine rebounds. Mark Benitez also had 12 points, five rebounds, and two steals in the losing cause.
Pagadian shot themselves on the foot, going 17-of-31 from the free throw line, good for just 54.8 percent.
Roxas 67 – Castro 18, Camacho 13, Bondoc 10, Najorda 9, Jaime 7, Casino 5, Reyes 2, Templo 2, Pasia 1, Sta. Ana 0, Velasco 0.
Pagadian 61 – Benitez 12, Manalo 12, Caballero 7, Acaylar 7, Dechos 6, Serrano 4, Pamaran 4, Saludsod 3, Guinitaran 2, Demigaya 2, Quimado 2, Bautista 0, Diva 0.
Quarterscores: 24-10, 33-23, 51-43, 67-61.