PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—Michole Sorela buried the game-winning triple as Zamboanga Sibugay Anak Mindao returned to the win column of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge, nipping host team Pagadian in a thriller, 71-70, Friday at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
Down 61-70 with 2:56 left, the Anak Mindanao Warriors went to work.
First, it was new addition Monbert Arong with back-to-back layups before Jan Jamon nailed a corner trey to slice the gap to just two, 68-70, with 41 seconds left.
The Explorers committed a crucial shot clock violation in the ensuing end.
Off a timeout, Zamboanga Sibugay head coach Arnold Oliveros designed a play for Sorela and it materialized.
The 6-foot-5 sweet-shooting big man found himself open at the top of the arc, throwing a triple and swishing it for the lead, 71-70, with six ticks to go.
Without any timeout, Pagadian ran the length of the court, seeing Glenn Acaylar in the paint but his attempt was fouled by Jeff Acain with just 0.08 remaining.
However, Acaylar did not take the freebies as he hurt his left shoulder during the play. He was replaced by deadly shooter Judel Fuentes.
But luck smiled at the Warriors as Fuentes’ freebies both trickled out as time expired for the thrilling end.
“Designed ‘yon. Si Michole talaga pupuntahan namin so nangyari ‘yung execution namin,” said Oliveros. “Sobrang sama ng execution namin from first to third quarter. Nagalit talaga ako kaya noong last five minutes, nagkaroon ng ball movement and we made our shots.”
Shaq Imperial topscored for Zamboanga SIbugay with 21 points, 12 in the fourth, to go with five assists, four rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Sorela the hero made 10 points and five rebounds while Jamon tallied 11 points.
Arong got nine points and was a plus-11 in his 21 minutes on the floor. Fellow newcomer Jaybie Mantilla did not register a point but had four assists and was a plus-nine in 13 minutes.
Zamboanga Sibugay joined Roxas and MisOr at the top at 5-3 while giving Pagadian its fifth loss in eight games.
Edzel Mag-isa continued his fine play for the Explorers with 20 points and 12 rebounds while Acaylar nailed 14 points and six rebounds.
Fuentes fired 11 points in the losing cause.
Both squads will play anew tomorrow. The Warriors will start the day against Kapatagan at 4 pm followed by Pagadian’s clash with Iligan at 6:30 pm.
Zamboanga Sibugay 71 – Imperial 21, Jamon 11, Sorela 10, Arong 9, Camacho 5, Dumapig 4, Caunan 4, Bangcoyan 3, Acain 2, Octobre 2, Mantilla 0, Peñaredondo 0, Lacastesantos 0, Gayosa 0.
Pagadian 70 – Mag-isa 20, Acaylar 14, Fuentes 11, Caballero 7, Ibanez 7, Uri 6, Dechos 3, Diaz 2, Tolentino 0, Pamaran 0, Demapilis 0, Demigaya 0, Pamaran 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14, 33-34, 44-54, 71-70.