PEPSI Cola notched its first victory in the tourney surprising the Pag-Ibig Fund, 98-91 in the Class B action of the 10th TKP Memorial Basketball Cup at the Nompac Gym, in Bacolod City.
The bottlers spoiled Bryan Alunan’s game-high of 33 points in a high scoring and foul prone 4th quarter game with both teams committing a total of 28 fouls.
Despite Alunan’s continued offensive aggression in the final quarter scoring 15 points in the period alone, the trio of Daryl De Ramos, Evan Lanza and Dindo Artango nailed 21 combined-points to wreck havoc on the Pag-Ibig Fund defense and posted a 15-point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the ballgame.
Though Pag-Ibig Fund resorted to a late full court press to bring the lead down to a single digit but good free throw conversions by Pepsi squad preserved their lead sealing the game.
Back in the first quarter, Pepsi ended the period on a 22-20 led with Artango scoring 10 points and Allen Donesa with 6.
Pepsi relied on gang rebounding and rode on the shoulders of Evan Lanza hitting 17 points extending Pepsi’s lead to 51-36 at the half. While Pag-Ibig Fund got contributions from Donnel Asan and Rine Miag-ao with 6 points apiece.
In the third, Alunan scored 18 of his 23 points as they cut the deficit to 68-59 but Ronilo Gonzales chipped in 14 points of the 17 points scored for Pepsi.
Lanza spearheaded Pepsi offense with 24 points, Gonzales added 18, Artango, De Ramos and Donesa had 16, 14 and 6 points, respectively.
In the second game, Filsino overwhelmed East West Bank, 113-83 on a 2nd quarter offensive juggernaut led by Stanley Bontigao and Rey Pandoro with 17 points and 16 points, respectively to erect a 67-31 lead after a 25-23 1st quarter tally.
Furthermore, East West had no answer to the choking full court trapping defense that led to several turnovers and easy baskets for Filsino in the quarter.
Five players scored in double figures for Filsino led by Pandoro with 20 pts. Bontigao added 17, RB Chua had 13, ANtonio Rogacion and Arvin Gustilo with 12 points apiece, Mark Sabusap and Mark Binguan with 8 each.
The bankers, on the other hand, were led by Richard Dairo and Jeremy Makilan with 13 points apiece, Jobert Morante had 10, Matty Tayongtong and Ariel Palarca with 6 points each.
Standings in Bracket A Tropics Restobar 4-0, Fil-SIno is at 4-1, Macro Tide 2-1, Mitzu Motors 2-2 Pag-IBIG Fund 1-2, Pepsi 1-3, East West 0-4.
Games on Saturday: Class B at TTHS Po Hang Gym (1st game) East West Bank vs. Pepsi; (2nd game) Talisay City vs Probac. (with reports from Stephen Tan/SCOOP-Bacolod)