In an exciting showdown at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor, Cavite on Tuesday, Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics breezed for a spot in the semifinals of the MPBL Fifth Season playoffs, sweeping Imus SV Squad, 61-59, in a best-of-three quarter final series in the South division.
A notable return to the Batangas lineup was Cedric Ablaza, who had been absent for an extended period. Ablaza made an immediate impact, contributing 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and one steal, earning himself the title of the game’s best player.
But going 2-0 did not come without some challenges. Batangas found themselves trailing 50-52 in the final quarter, and they had to dig deep from their roster to secure a semifinal spot.
The likes of Levi Hernandez, Jong Baloria, and MJ Dela Virgen made game-changing moves to prevent Imus from tying the series. They sank three consecutive three-pointers in the closing moments of the game, and this surge gave the team a 59-54 lead in the fourth quarter with just 31.9 seconds left on the clock.
Baloria sank four crucial free throws, ultimately sealing the deal with a floater for a 61-59 victory. This win mirrored their earlier 78-71 triumph in Game 1.
Hernandez also had a strong performance, notching 12 points and eight rebounds for the team under the guidance of Coach Cholo Villanueva. Admittedly, the coach expressed that those pivotal three-pointers played a significant role in shifting the momentum of the game in their favor.
Carlo Lastimosa was the standout player for Imus, being the only one to reach double digits with 11 points.
The MPBL action will continue at the Caloocan Sports Complex on Friday, featuring the Pasig City MCW Sports and Caloocan Batang Kankaloo, who will conclude their quarterfinal series at 8 p.m.”
Next Game Schedule: Caloocan Sports Complex
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