The San Juan Knights served up some payback against their rivals Davao Occidental as they edged the Tigers, 85-84, in the knockout semifinals of the Filbasket Subic Championship on Friday at the Subic Bay Gymnasium.
Cebuano guard Orlan Wamar was simply unstoppable as he carved up the Tigers’ defense for 26 points, including an impeccable 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Every point mattered as San Juan managed to exact revenge on the team that bested them for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season title earlier in the year.
The Tigers had the lead, 78-76, but the Knights scored five straight off a three-pointer by Paolo Hernandez and a layup by Wamar that put them up, 81-78, with 1:34 to go. Larry Rodriguez then gave the Knights an 85-82 lead after making two pressure-packed free-throws with 30 seconds left.
However, the Tigers had numerous shots at tying or even taking the lead after Keith Agovida scored a basket while getting fouled. Agovida missed the bonus free-throw but the Tigers were able to snatch the offensive board. Unfortunately, Agovida and Wilson missed three tries at the basket right before time expired to give San Juan the thrilling win.
Fernandez finished with 14 markers while Adrian Nocum added 12 for the Knights, which will have their work cut out for them as they go up against AICC Manila, which ousted Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, 88-68, in the other semifinals showdown.
Robby Celiz led Davao Occidental with 20 points while Wilson, who was named the MVP of the MPBL while playing for San Juan, had just four points and was 2-of-13 from the field including 0-of-6 from threes.
AICC Manila did not give Pasig any room to breathe as they established a huge 49-32 lead at halftime to set the tone for the lopsided match. AICC Manila—the core of which is composed of the team that won the national title in the VisMin Super Cup—was led by big man Michael Mabulac who had 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Chris Bitoon added 13 markers. Hesed Gabo chipped in 11 points and seven dimes.