By Adrian Stewart Co
Jumbo Plastic-Basilan Peace Riders clinched the crown of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao leg after an 89-70 win over Petra Cement-Roxas Vanguards in Game 2 of the finals on Monday night at the Pagadian City Gymnasium.
Mindanao leg MVP Hesed Gabo top-scored for the Peace Riders with 13 points, three assists, and two rebounds, while Michael Juico added 12 points, six rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Chris Bitoon, Jonathan Uyloan and Juneric Baloria also hit double-figures with 10 points apiece for the Peace Riders, which were undefeated in the Mindanao leg after sweeping their eight elimination round matches and two finals games.
For ruling the Mindanao leg, the Peace Riders earned the right to represent the island in the VisMin Super Cup best-of-five showdown Visayas leg winner KCS-Mandaue starting today.
“Talagang napakasarap nitong championship na ito kasi nandito ka lang sa liga during a pandemic, you’re one of the fortunate na,” Peace Riders head coach Jerson Cabiltes said.
Unlike in their first nine matches in the Mindanao leg, the Peace Riders struggled on offense early as the score tied at 16-all after the opening quarter and trailed 32-34 at the half.
The Peace Riders, however, unleashed a huge rampage in the third quarter behind Gabo, Juico and Bitoon for a 67-53 lead and later grew to its largest at 80-53 with over five minutes left.
“Sobrang saya na mai-represent ‘yung province ko tapos nag-Finals MVP pa ako,” said Bitoon, who was hailed as Finals MVP with averages of 15.0 points, 6.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 rebounds per game.
Former PBA player Leo Najorda tallied 15 points, while James Castro added 13 points and five rebounds but had six turnovers for the Vanguards, which missed Jordan Sta. Ana in the game due to a left knee strain.
The Peace Riders will bring home P500,000 courtesy of Chooks-to-Go for ruling the Mindanao leg, while the Vanguards will not go home empty-handed with their P100,000 prize.
BASILAN 89 – Gabo 13, Juico 12, Uyloan 10, Bitoon 10, Baloria 10, Balucanag 7, Taganas 6, Mabulac 6, Manalang 6, Collado 5, Latip 3, Bringas 1, Saliddin 0, Hallare 0, Siruma 0.
ROXAS 70 – Najorda 15, Castro 13, Camacho 8, Jaime 6, Rifarial 5, Templo 5, Reyes 4, Bondoc 4, Intic 3, Elmejrab 3, Pasia 2, Deles 2, Velasco 0, Casino 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16, 32-34, 67-53, 89-70./ASC, WDJ