Semifinals Game 2: SLR 86, Alaska 77

On: 31 January 2008

After yielding as many as 107 points in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semifinal showdown against the Alaska Aces, the Sta. Lucia Realtors put their foot down in Game 2 and went back what they do best – play defense. Defense allowed the Realtors to win the game, 86-77, and tie the series to one game a piece. More importantly, though, the win gave the Realtors a time to shake the rust off after a 13-day lay-off.

"We pretended to be an offensive team in Game One and we suffered the consequence. Fortunately, we’re quick to realize our mistake," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

"We made a conscious effort to limit their production. I told them we can’t beat Alaska if we allow them to score 90 points or more," Fernandez added. "Our main objective in Game Three will be the same – try to start strong, sustain it and limit Alaska’s output."

The tenacity of the Realtors was so overwhelming that they managed to limit the field goal shooting of the Aces to only 40.6 percent, a far cry from their 52.0 percent clip in Game 1. They also managed to take out the 3-point shooting of the Aces by defending closely the perimeter and forcing untimely shots. As a result, the Aces can only managed to sink 18.2 percent of their shots from beyond the arc in Game 2 as compared to a very high 41.7 percent shooting in Game 1.

Although the Aces still controlled the boards 51 to 37 just like in Game 1, the Realtors forced them to commit more turnovers, 29-15. From those turnovers, the Realtors managed to score 29 points.

Marlou Aquino was at his element last night by scoring 8 points and swatting away 3 shots in just 17 minutes of action. Aquino was so intimidating in the floor that he was instrumental in forcing the Aces to commit three successive 24-shot clock violations in a span of five minutes during the last part of the third period and the start of the fourth period.

Kelly Williams, Dennis Miranda, Nelbert Omolon and Ryan Reyes also step up on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floors. Williams top scored with 24 points on a 10-18 shooting from the floor, Miranda dished off 10 assists, and both Omolon and Reyes were able to disrupt the rhythm of Mike Cortez and Jeffrey Cariaso by sticking to them one-on-one. Omolon was also instrumental in the Realtors decisive five-point binge which gave them an 81-75 cushion entering the final-minute mark.

The energy of Coach Fernandez’ first five more than made up for the dismal performance of the team’s Captain, Dennis Espino, who can only manage to score 6 points on a 2-18 shooting from the floor or a miserable 15.4 percent clip. In Game 1, Espino tried to keep the Realtors in the thick of the fight by scoring 16 points, but committed 5 turnovers.

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