ANGELES CITY — Defending champion San Juan-Go for Gold advanced to the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan North semis after taking a 74-67 win to sweep Pasay, Thursday at the AUF Gym here.
And the Knights had to do it without reliable big man Larry Rodriguez, who was ejected from the game with 2:58 left in the third canto.
“Noong nawala si Larry Rodriguez, ‘yung mga bench players nag-deliver. Naging ready lang talaga ang lahat,” said Knights head coach Randy Alcantara.
Figuring in a 62-all deadlock with 2:33 left in the contest, San Juan star John Wilson sparked an 11-2 blitz. CJ Isit and Orlan Wamar also contributed to the run, paving the way for a 73-74 lead with 17.5 ticks left.
“Lumabas ‘yung character nila sa endgame, naging composed sila. Importante ‘yun sa playoffs,” added Alcantara.
Wilson led the Knights anew with a huge double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jhonard Clarito backstopped him with 13 markers and 12 boards.
Wamar also chipped in 10 points for San Juan, who await the victor of the Pampanga-Bataan quarterfinals series.
Trailing by 10 points entering the second half, the Voyagers put the clamps on San Juan in the third period. They only gave up 12 points while scoring 20 on the other end, slicing the deficit to just two, 42-44.
Pasay then continued its barrage in the fourth frame. They set off a 10-3 blast — capped by Jan Jamon’s triple — to take a five-point advantage, 52-47, with 7:32 remaining in the contest.
San Juan showed its championship experience, though, leading to the win.
On the other hand, Dhon Reverente’s 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, one steal and a block against five turnovers was not enough to keep Pasay alive in the playoffs.
Jamon also added 11 markers and four boards.
San Juan-Go for Gold 74 – Wilson 17, Clarito 12, Wamar 10, Rodriguez 8, Isit 7, Victoria 7, Estrella 5, Bunag 3, Gabawan 2, Reyes 2, Marquez 0, Ayonayon 0.
Pasay 67 – Reverente 23, Jamon 11, Iñigo 7, Moradas 6, Belencion 5, Chan 5, Opiso 4, Ilagan 4, Lasquety 2, Pasia 0, Vitug 0, Lastimosa 0.
Quarterscores: 17-10, 32-22, 44-42, 74-67.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Nicks Hernandez