THE MANDAUE City Ballers might not be as strong as its previous line-ups but they prove to have the best performance as they made its first-ever Governor’s Cup Finals appearance following a 98-64 win over the Minglanilla Archangels in the knockout semifinal match for the second seat to the best-of-3 championship series for the Governor’s Cup 2019 Inter-Cities/Municipalities Basketball Tournament title at the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex.
The victory set up for the dreamed championship game between Mandaue City and Talisay City Aquastars, the two powerhouse teams in the league that took three years to happen.
Mandaue City proved that all they needed is one good coach that could guide them and maximize their potentials, and that would be Gary Cortes, who led the University of the Visayas Green Lancers its first Grand Slam title since the Elmer “Boy” Cabahug era.
But Cortes needed some time to make fine tunings for the team as Mandaue City lost two of its first assignments of the season before getting their acts together and won 10 straight games to make the Finals.
Cortes, however, will need a bag of tricks as Mandaue City would be playing without its main man in the middle Kenneth Brillo who will be suspended after he was tossed out of the game at the 2:12 mark of the final period for accumulating two disqualifying fouls – a technical foul for second motion at the 5:52 mark of the third period and an unsportsmanlike in the fourth period.
It did not sit well for Mandaue City as they felt the referees erred in slapping Brillo an unsportsmanlike foul that proved to be his disqualifying foul.
Although Brillo’s ejection has no effect on Mandaue’s march to Finals, his absence in Game 1 on Friday would affect the Ballers’ campaign in the series opener, which will be hosted by the Aquastars at the Talisay City Sports and Cultural Complex.
“I think we deserve to have a slo-mo replay for the last minute unsportsmanlike foul on our main man Brillo. To give the benefit of the doubt that some of our team supporters said, that it’s an anticipated and overkill call, which I also think so. We respect the ref’s call but it does not mean that all of their calls are perfect. It just so happened that we cannot give the refs the technical foul if they commit clear bad calls,” Cortes said in his post on his Facebook account.
Brillo’s domination inside the shaded lane, was the main reason of that lopsided victory as he delivered the game-high 20 points, including 11 points when Mandaue went for the kill in the third period.
It was Brillo and Gab Cometa who combined forces that set the tone for a lopsided finish.
A 12-0 run at the start of the third period that stretched a 53-35 margin to a 65-35 gap nearly four minutes gone by in the penultimate quarter.
Mandaue protected a 30-point lead all the way to the final buzzer as Minglanilla failed to sustain a good start that saw them trading baskets with the home squad before the Ballers’ defense held the Archangels offense to just 12 points in the second period.
Cometa contributed 18 points, 10 made 3rd period, Paul John Sungahid finished with 16 points, Archie Buscay added 13 points and Lemuel Jake Gonzaga scattered 12 points for Mandaue City’s win while Acer Go top-scored Minglanilla with 16 points and Marc Justine Nebril was the other Archangels player to finish in double-digits with his 10 points.
Mandaue City (98) – Brillo 20, Cometa 18, Sungahid 16, Buscay 13, Gonzaga 12, Marco 5, Lasala 4, Dabon 2, Cabellon 2, Isok 2, Cinco 2, delos Angeles 2. Minglanilla (62) – Go 16, Nebril 10, Dobleros 8, Eredera 7, Gilbuena 6, Alfoque 6, Cabrera 5, Mejos 2, Basister 2.
Quarterscores: 24-23; 53-35; 83-51; 98-62.