Like the previous two games, Caloocan’s Batang Kankaloo found themselves in a tight battle against Pasig, with both teams trading punches before the former eventually triumphed over their tenacious opponent.
This victory secured their position in the division’s Final Four and moved them to the semi-finals, where they will face the top-seeded Pampanga.
Caloocan advanced to the MPBL North Division playoffs with a 68-60 victory over Pasig City’s MCW Sports team in Game 3 that took place on a Friday night at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Gabby Espinas led the charge for Caloocan, showing off his skills by scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Jeramer Cabanag and Joco Tayongtong also contributed significantly, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Paul Sanga had eight points, and Mac Baracael having 6.
Despite being the fourth seed, Caloocan had to fight back against a spirited fifth-seeded Pasig, who, in the first three quarters, took advantage of their home court. But the Batang Kankaloo finally found their rhythm just in time to secure the victory.
In the final two minutes, a game-changing three-pointer from Baracael, followed by a long two-point jumper from Sanga, allowed Caloocan to pull away, winning 63-56 in the fourth quarter.
It’s worth noting that Pasig put up a valiant battle, and their fortitude pushed their opponent to the limit. In a series that went to a deciding Game 3, Caloocan won Game 1 71-69, while Pasig won Game 2 65-61.
Dojillo, Caloocan’s coach, lauded Pasig’s perseverance and the obstacles they faced. He stressed that the players’ passion to win was the motivating force behind their achievement.
Caloocan’s players went above and beyond despite the added challenge of a home court disadvantage, and even after losing their team leader, Ryan Costelo, owing to a disqualifying foul in the third quarter of the do-or-die encounter. For Pasig, Robbie Manalang and Rey Anthony Peralta each scored ten points, while former PBA player Jason Ballesteros pulled down 17 rebounds in the losing effort.
Next Game Schedule: Lagao Gymnasium
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