SLR 80, Barako Bull 77

On: 23 November 2009

Joseph Yeo

Sta. Lucia Realty couldn't buy a basket, much less a triple against Barako Bull Sunday (22 November 2009) and Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez claims it was all because his team was not mentally prepared.

Good thing Joseph Yeo would not allow that concern to be translated into a loss.

Yeo struck for the Realtors' first six points in the extension and had a hand on another basket to give them the necessary push towards an 80-77 overtime win over the upset-conscious Energy Boosters in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Yeo taking over when his teammates continued to struggle pointed Sta. Lucia to its second straight victory and at least a share of fourth-running spot on a 5-3 win-loss record.

Despite the win, however, Fernandez remained dissatisfied with the way his boys followed up on their 93-72 rout of Barangay Ginebra last Wednesday.

“My players really played bad,” said Fernandez. “No matter if we repeatedly told them Barako Bull is a very dangerous team, they still thought they already had a won game. You could see it in the dugout and during the game. I hope this serves as a lesson.”

Yeo finished with a game-high 16 points while Gabby Espinas, Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes each had at least 11 points. Espinas and Williams added 10 rebounds each in the game that is the lowest scoring overtime match since San Miguel Beer defeated the Realtors via the same score in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup eliminations.

“It's a good thing Joseph stepped up and Ryan came back and displayed leadership in the fourth period and endgame despite his foul troubles,” said Fernandez. “But as a team we really played bad.”

Nelbert Omolon, whose charities pegged a 66-all count in the last 73 seconds of regulation, connected on a layup off Yeo's third assist of the game that put Sta. Lucia ahead 78-73. After Gilbert Lao drained a triple, Omolon iced it with two charities that made it a four-point game, only 8.6 ticks left.

“We have to be consistent,” said Fernandez, whose team next faces Purefoods on Saturday. “It seems we're two different teams. Every time na strong team ang kaharap, maganda ang focus. Pero pagdating sa ang kalaban pareho lang ang kalidad namin sa tingin nila, sumasama ang laro. We have to address that in the next few days.”

Yousif Aljamal's charity pegged the final score with a charity to finish with a team-high 14 points for Barako Bull, which absorbed its fifth straight loss and dropped to a 2-7 slate.

Not after giving Sta. Lucia a big scare in the form of several 10-point leads, the last at 63-53 off Ogie Menor's trey, 10:07 left in regulation.

The Energy Boosters could have won it outright with two thrusts in the dying seconds of the fourth period, but Menor missed a triple and Aris Dimaunahan's reverse try got blocked by Espinas just before the buzzer.

Sta. Lucia managed to come out on top despite missing 16 free throws and making just two out of 16 three-point attempts. The Realtors also made just 25 of 67 field goal attempts.

It was the worst three-point shooting by a winning team since Barangay Ginebra also made only two triples in a 98-86 victory over San Miguel Beer in their conference debut last month.

Barako Bull was just slightly better off. It made half of its 28 free throw tries, shot 28 of 76 from the field and made seven of 20 triple tries.

All those got translated into the Energy Boosters seizing control from the first five minutes of the second period and on to the third canto, where they broke off from a 37-all tie to erect a 48-38 lead on a Richard Alonzo jumper.

Alonzo wound wind up with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds before fouling out off Espinas, 3:19 left in regulation. Espinas' resulting charities made it a 64-66 count. (NC)

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