SLR 81, Whoopers 94

On: 04 June 2009

PBA Fiesta 2009

This Burger King team just won't roll over and die.

Facing the specter of elimination, the Whoppers fought with dogged determination and smothered the Sta. Lucia Realtors, 94-81, to force a sudden death in their Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference quarterfinals showdown at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

"We wanted this really badly. We felt after the Game One loss that we had no one to blame but ourselves. We had two good practice sessions and the adjustment we made was what was needed to win this game," said BK coach Yeng Guiao.

"The guys coming off the bench played really well. They played like veterans. I think these are under-rated players who can make a difference. And they proved it tonight," Guiao also said, referring in particular to Mark Yee.

Egay Billones and Yee combined for 36 points coming off the bench as the Whoppers got back at the Realtors to keep their bid for a return stint in the Fiesta Conference finale.

For Guiao and BK main man Arwind Santos, the victory meant they still have a season to play upon their return from the SEABA championship in Medan, Indonesia.

The tourney takes another break to give way to the RP team's participation in the SEABA joust. It resumes on June 14 with a double-knockout among the four quarterfinalists -- BK versus Sta. Lucia and Rain or Shine against Purefoods.

"The team is going to have a few days of rest before returning to regular practice. Our coaching staff is very capable of conducting practices in my absence. I have no reservation about them taking over while I'm gone," said Guiao.

"I prefer to play sooner but we have a mission to accomplish in Indonesia. I think Game Three next week will be more difficult. They will come more prepared and so we are," Guiao added.

In Game Two, the Whoppers played with greater resolve, taking the first quarter at 20-17 then held sway up to the finish.

Billones, Yee and Aaron Aban churned out sterling games, giving Guiao the luxury of closing out the game with regular first-stringers Santos, Gary David and Wynne Arboleda sitting on the bench.

Billones went 3-of-3 from the three-point area, 3-of-3 from the two-point zone and 4-of-6 from the stripe, Yee added two triples and a total of 17 points while Aban shared nine points and two rebounds.

After falling behind by 15 in the third, the Realtors kept on coming back but the Whoppers would hung tough.

Shawn Daniels scored only 12 but pulled down 24 rebounds and issued eight assists in a tough stand against Anthony Johnson who got 21 points and the same number of assists.

With a steadier shooting and minimal turnovers, the Whoppers enjoyed a 12-point cushion, 46-34, at halftime.

Burger King converted 44.2 percent of its shots in the first half with Yee and Billones going perfect for a combined output of 14 points. Sta. Lucia, on the other hand, struggled with a 28.6 percent clip.

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