THE Talisay City Aquastars held their grounds steady in the final half to draw first blood of the best-of-3 championship series following a come-from-behind 81-76 win over the Mandaue City Ballers in Game 1 of the Cebu Governor’s Cup 2019 Inter-Cities/Municipalities Basketball Tournament Finals held at the Talisay City Sports Complex.
Talisay City held Mandaue to just 30 points in the second half while scoring 47 points to steal the game away from the visiting team and move a win shy from clinching a back-to-back title.
The Aquastars’ relied on the third quarter explosion of Clark Louise Ruedas who scored 12 of his 16 points that helped the defending champions move within 59-64 entering the final frame.
The combined firepowers of Ruedas, Jay Deiparine, Kendrick Abarquez and Jhaylord Castro in the fourth quarter took away the fight from the visiting Ballers in the final quarter. However, the loss did not sit well for the supporters of Mandaue City who blamed bad officiating for its loss.
The unsportsmanlike foul called on Mandaue City’s ace point guard Gab Cometa at the 4:40 mark of the first period which was subsequently followed by a technical foul on coach Gary Cortes for continuous complaining at the 7:29 of the third, was what Mandaue City supporters called fire dousing calls that stopped the momentum of their team.
The Ballers were leading from the start, and went to build double-digit lead on many occasion until the final 6:456 of the game when Castro scored a short jumper off a steal to taste its first taste of the lead that they never let go until the final buzzer, to log a psychological win and snapped the 10-game winning run of Mandaue City.
Clearly winded, Mandaue City tried for the last push but the absence of Kenneth Brillo who was suspended for accumulating two disqualifying fouls in the knockout semi-final game against Minglanilla last Wednesday proved to be the missing link to its hopes to win Game 1.
Jay Deiparine who scattered four triples, top-scored for reigning champions with 19 points, Taburnal added 13 and Abarquez finished with 10 for Talisay City while Cometa scored the game-high 22 points, LJ Gonzaga finished with 12 points, Arche Buscay who was playing with fever added 11 and Paul John Sungahid made 10 points for Mandaue City.
To give in for the wishes of Mandaue City, which could not host Game 2 on the scheduled May 6 date because of its ongoing Nightly Fiesta Celebration Activities, the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission (CPSC) changed the scheduled of the second game to May 9 to be held at the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex.Boxscores:Talisay City (81) – Deiparine 19, Ruedas 16, Taburnal 13, Abarquez 10, Castro 8, Bacasmas 6, Villabrille 4, Briones 3, Inigo 2. Mandaue City (76) – Cometa 22, Gonzaga 12, Buscay 11, Sungahid 10, Marco 9, de los Angeles 6, Apas 2, Dabon 2, Isok 2.Quarterscores: 15-21; 34-46; 59-61; 81-76.