THE Mandaue City Ballers will fight for survival against the defending champion Talisay City Aquastars in Game 2 of their best-of-three championship series in the 2019 Governor’s Cup Inter-Cities/Municipalities Basketball Tournament at the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex on Thursday, May 9.
The Ballers are looking to bounce back after missing the chance to steal a game under the opponent’s turf after blowing a double-digit second-half lead in Game 1 last May 3 at the Talisay City Sports Complex.
On top of the home crowd in Game 2, the Mandaue City side will get back high-scoring big man Kenneth Brillo, who served a one-game suspension after getting ejected in the semifinals.
Brillo is one of the cornerstones for the Ballers this season. Together with court general Gabriel Cometa, the duo led Mandaue City to a clean sweep in the playoff round.
The Gary Cortes-coached Mandaue City almost pulled off a surprise in the series opener, leading by double figures in the second half before the fourth quarter meltdown that cost the game.
Talisay City outscored Mandaue City, 22-12, in the payoff period to escape with an 81-76 win after being down in all but the last six minutes of play.
Talisay City coach Rey Michael Gurrea said they will definitely make some adjustments with the return of the marquee player in Brillo.
“Rebounding was one of the factors for us. It will be another story in Game 2 since their big man will be back,” said Gurrea in Cebuano, after steering his team in Game 1. “We will prepare and make some adjustments in Game 2.”
The Aquastars will rely on key players Jay Deiparine, Keaton Taburnal, Kendrick Abarquez, Raffy Bacamas, Clark Louis Ruedas, Ronan Briones, Elmer Villabrille, Jhaylord Castro, Gerald Inigo and Oudy Acedo.
Mandaue City will count on Brillo, Cometa, Archie Buscay, Paul John Gonzaga, Lemuel Gonzaga, Jhun Art Marco and Michael de los Angeles.
The champion team will win a cool P500,000 cash purse courtesy of the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission and the Cebu Provincial Government. (RSC)