SLR 100, Bull 91

On: 14 March 2009

PBA Fiesta 2009

Anthony Johnson had a season-high 43 points including 16 in the third quarter that sparked a fiery rally by the Sta. Lucia Realtors, who rebounded from a 13-point deficit and turned the game around for a 100-91 victory against Barako Bull Friday night (13 March 2009) at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Sta. Lucia import made 20 of 31 attempts and had 21 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double as the Realtors posted their third consecutive victory in the in 2009 Motolite PBA Fiesta Cup after losing their opening game against Burger King 96-87 on 28 February in Dumaguete City.

Those were Johnson’s highest scoring and rebounding outputs in a game since first playing here as an import in the 2007 Fiesta Conference for Coca-Cola.

After a lackluster first quarter, the Realtors picked up the pace in the second before Johnson anchored a decisive third quarter breakaway in which he outscored the entire Barako Bull bench.

Johnson went 8-for-10 in that telling stretch and the Realtors shot 53 percent from the field as Sta. Lucia outscored Barako Bull, 32-10.

“We were complacent in the first quarter,” offered Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez, referring to their slow start. “But we quickly made some adjustments on our offensive patterns that enabled us to break the zone then we played tough defense in the second half and that was the key.”

The Barakos led 52-44 at halftime but the Realtors opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run for a 60-54 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.

Kelly Williams also turned in a double-double effort with 21 points and 13 rebounds and Marlou Aquino dished out another standout performance with 14 points, nine boards and two blocks, drawing nothing but praise from his coach.

“Marlou is playing like a 25-year old. He’s helping us offensively and working just as hard on defense. You can tell that he’s really in top shape. I hope he could keep it,” Fernandez said.

The Barakos tried to make a run in the early in the fourth that pulled them within 70-76 on a basket by Cornelius McFedgon with 10:36 remaining.

But the Realtors, who are now-3-0 against Barako Bull this season, answered with 10 straights points that broke their opponents’ spine. Johnson had eight points in that run.

McFadgon turned in 38 points on 12-of-28 shooting and Gabby Espinas and Paolo Hubalde added 11 apiece for the Barakos, who fell to 1-3 (win-loss) record.

Early on, it looked like the Barakos would score an upset.

Their offense was running smoothly and with their zone seemingly unbreakable, the Barakos stormed to a 44-31 advantage with 5:10 left in the first half.

Barako Bull appeared to still enjoy the momentum with an eight-point lead going into the second half. But they shot just 23 percent (5-of-21) in the third and never recovered from there.

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