University of St. La Salle-Fyr Fyter snatched the number 1 seed with a victory against Davies Paints Phils., 87-79, in the penultimate day of the elimination round in the 1st United Negros Basketball League 25 under Open Tournament games played on Sunday at the Bacolod Tay Tung High School Po Hang Gymnasium.
USLS, Royal Star Trading and Davies all finished with 7-1 records to top of the standings, but USLS came out on top due to a higher quotient, with Royal Star Trading securing the 2nd spot and Davies Paints Phils. dropping to third.
Semifinals knockout matches were underway as of press time, where USLS meets 4th seed CSAB/Strived Sportswear, while Royal Star Trading battles Davies Paints Phils.
USLS led in the opening quarter 31-21, as Keith Rhaileen Ortillano scored 11 points against JB Co’s 10 for Davies. John Mermida and Mark Dubouzet conspired for 15 points to draw closer at halftime, 53-49 while USLS’ Andrie Dubouzet unloaded 10 points in the second quarter.
An offensive drought by Davies in the third quarter allowed USLS to erect a 16-point lead, engineered by Dubouzet and Mark June De La Cruz, who chipped in 9 and 6 points, respectively. Davies’ Mark Dubouzet closed the quarter with a run to cut the deficit to 73-64.
Davies mounted a mini run early in the fourth quarter, with John Louie Mermida bringing his team closer, 73-68, but Mark June De La Cruz scored on back to back jumpers, followed by an Ortillano triple, and a 15-footer by Terence Buenafe to establish an 82-68 lead with 5:55 left in the game. JB Co finally broke the ice for Davies, scoring 4 points, but Martin Jay Beatingo and De La Cruz responded to restore the lead back to 13 pts.
Two free throws by Mermida, coupled with a Ken Jay Sarco put back, cut the deficit at 85-78, but Andrie Dubouzet nailed 2 free throws to ice the game and secure the top spot for USLS.
Andrie Dubouzet led USLS with 24 points, backstopped by Ortillano with 16, De La Cruz – 13, Nelbert Minerva – 9, Beatingo – 8, Ivan Macabani – 7, and Buenafe – 6.
Davies Paints was spearheaded by Co with 18 points, Mermida added – 15 pts, Mark Dubouzet and Sarco – 13 apiece.
Meanwhile, two clutch free throws by Cloyd Jason Seballos lifted KDR Perfecto to a thrilling victory over Visayan Maritime Academy, 87-86.
With KDR leading by 8 in the fourth quarter, VMA’s Albert Urbanozo and Kyle Bert Ma-asin nailed successive 3-point shots, with the latter forcing a deadlock at 81 all. VMA had victory within reach as Michael De La Torre connected on corner trifecta for a 1-point lead with 30.6 seconds remaining, in response to a Sweet Nemenzo twinner. Mark Bandojo then missed a floater, but his teammate’s Seballos put back attempt resulted in a foul called with 6.8 seconds left, where he calmly sank the 2 freebies. The second consecutive victory for KDR Perfecto was sealed as Ma-asin’s triple rimmed out as time expired.
Ian Bitamor paced KDR Perfecto with 24 points, Seballos – 19, Louie Villarias – 12, John Amaro – 11, Bandojo – 10, and Nemenzo – 8.
Ma-asin and Urbanozo delivered 9 triples between them, scoring 22 and 18 points, respectively, Robert Matti shot for 12 points, De La Torre – 11, Mark Anglo Gatinao – 8, and Alvin Maigue – 6.
In the curtain raiser, OBI Knights surprised semifinalist CSAB/Strived Sportswear 98-92
Five players scored in double digits for OBI Knights, with Edgar Calpes unloading 20 points, Adrian Alagaban scoring 18 with 5 triples, Edwin Madrileno and Jezryl Puyong – 15 apiece, and John Andrey Solivio – 12, and James Lumbrado – 9.
Strived Sportswear was spearheaded by Kenneth Malazarte’s 26 points, Mycco Deposoy – 21, Jenri Duterte – 9, Mico Exaltado – 10, Manu Villareal and Andre Dadivas – 8 each.*