SLR 104, PF 95

On: 15 May 2009

PBA Fiesta 2009

Sta. Lucia Realty outplayed Purefoods Tender Juicy in the second half and scored a 104-95 victory to wheel back into contention for at least a Top Four finish in the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference classification round at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig last 14 May 2009.

The Realtors built momentum in the third quarter and sustained the surge to the finish to end a three-game slide and force a four-way logjam at fourth with the Giants, the Burger King Whoppers and the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.

With identical 7-6 win-loss cards, all four teams need to win their final assignment to get a possible playoff crack at an outright semifinal berth or a place in the Top Four which will mean a twice-to-beat advantage in the wildcard phase.

Burger King and Purefoods have each other as final assignments Sunday, the same day Sta. Lucia closes its preliminary-round stint versus San Miguel Beer. Talk ‘N Text has Alaska Milk as its last game.

The Sta. Lucia win actually handed idle San Miguel Beer the first outright semifinal berth as the Beermen, even if they lose their last three games, will still automatically be the No. 1 team in the event of a three-way tie for first place at 9-5 with Barangay GInebra and Rain or Shine because of a more superior PBA quotient and the Kings and the Elasto Painters figuring in a playoff for the second outright semifinal berth.

A loss by Rain or Shine or Barangay Ginebra in any of their last games will also make the Beermen's nine wins enough for a Top 2 finish at the end of the classification round.

Behind the hot hands of Anthony Johnson, Joseph Yeo and Dennis Espino, the Realtors opened a 15-point bulge at 86-71 and went on to get back at the Giants who dealt them a sorry 91-93 defeat in their previous tiff.

Johnson, Yeo and Espino all finished with at least 17 points with the returning Bitoy Omolon adding 16 and Denok Miranda 13.

Omolon missed their last three games due to chicken pox.

Sta. Lucia continued to miss the services of Kelly Williams but the Realtors got back on track with steady shooting.

The Realtors posted its first double-digit spread in the game at 77-67 while converting 56 percent (9-of-16) of their shots in the third quarter as against the Giants' 24-percent (7-of-29) clip.

Espino, Yeo and Johnson came through with a 9-3 run to close the quarter where Kerby Raymundo picked a fourth foul and later drew a technical infraction for continuous complaining.

Fouling out with 1:02 left to play, Raymundo took off his jersey while walking off the floor disappointed.

Marquin Chandler and James Yap led Purefoods with 14 and 12, respectively, while Johnson and Yeo had 13 apiece for Sta. Lucia as the two teams figured in a duel of runs in the first half ending in favor of the Giants at 47-46.

SLR led by three after the first quarter and opened the next period with a 6-2 binge for a 28-21 lead but Chandler and Yap teamed up in a fierce counterattack pushing Purefoods ahead at 47-43.

The Realtors made it a one-point game at halftime on a three-pointer by Ryan Reyes.

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