By Adrian Stewart Co
ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu Heroes rode on the hot hands of Reed Juntilla to oust Dumaguete Warriors, 92-76, in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Visayas leg on Sunday at the Alcantara Civic Center in Cebu.
Juntilla, a former standout of the University of Visayas, put up his best performance for the Heroes so far with 33 points on an efficient 16-of-26 shooting from the field.
The 36-year-old guard, who had stints with Air21 Express, Meralco Bolts, Barako Bull, and NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA before, completed his stellar evening by hauling seven rebounds and grabbing a steal.
“Reed Juntilla is Reed Juntilla,” exclaimed Heroes assistant coach Jerry Abuyabor after the match. “He’s finally back! That’s the Reed Juntilla we have been missing for the past games.”
From a seesaw battle in the first two quarters, the Heroes created separation from the Warriors in the third period after unloading a 14-2 scoring blast for a 64-52 advantage.
Lapu-Lapu City went on to build a 15-point advantage at the onset of the fourth period but Dumaguete clawed its way back to within 71-77 after a personal 11-0 blast by Warriors’ Ronald Roy.
That, however, was the last stand of the Warriors as the Heroes leaned on inside hits by Rino Berame and outside conversions by Juntilla to extend the lead to 88-76 with over two minutes left.
Apart from Juntilla, Ferdinand Lusdoc also delivered the goods for Lapu-Lapu City with 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists while Dawn Ochea chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
The victory allowed the Heroes to reach the step-ladder semifinal round where they will take on KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue tonight with the latter armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Roy finished the game with 30 points and eight rebounds, while Mark Doligon added 18 points and six boards as the Warriors bowed out of contention at fifth place.
LAPU-LAPU 92 – Juntilla 33, Lusdoc 16, Ochea 10, Senining 7, M. Arong 6, Berame 6, F. Arong 6, Galvez 4, Cañada 2, Mondragon 2, Abad 0, Regero 0, Tangkay 0, Solis 0.
DUMAGUETE 76 – Roy 30, Doligon 18, Regalado 8, Mantilla 7, Monteclaro 6, Gabas 5, Tomilloso 2, Velasquez 0, Gonzalgo 0, Ramirez 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 40-42, 64-52, 92-76./ASC, WDJ