SLR 108, Barako Bull 86

On: 18 January 2010

K-Will vs Barako

Sta. Lucia Realty and Barako Bull are nearing the end of their elimination campaigns in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup.

As things are shaping up, however, they need more games to achieve their different yet similar immediate goals.

The Realtors beat the Energy Boosters 108-86 Sunday (17 January 2010) at the Araneta Coliseum to move within another win of figuring in a multiple tie and playing off for the last automatic quarterfinals berth.

"We need to win on Friday to force at least a triple tie and a playoff," said SLR coach Boyet Fernandez after his charges notched their 10th win in 17 games.

The Realtors will wind up their campaign against Purefoods at elims end on Friday to finish at 11-7 and tie defending champion Talk ‘N Text and the Giants at 11-7.

At 11-6, Barangay Ginebra could also be relegated to the tie. But the Kings can avoid the complications if they prevail over the Burger King Whoppers later Sunday.

The defeat was the 14th in 17 games for cellar-dwelling Barako Bull and it is now left looking for a win over Coca-Cola on Wednesday to keep its flickering hopes of making it past the elims. Also, 4-13 Rain or Shine must lose to Alaska, also on Friday, to forge a playoff between the Energy Boosters and the Elasto Painters for ninth and the last wildcard seat.

"We got to keep working hard and win, that's it," said SLR forward Kelly Williams, who recorded his conference-high 14th double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

It's not that Barako Bull, coming off a morale-boosting 99-97 stunner over TNT last Sunday, did not give SLR some concerns, however.

"I'm happy we managed to overcome this game," said Fernandez. "Coming into this game kinakabahan ako because Barako Bull is coming off a good win and we are coming off a bad (77-85) loss to Alaska (last Wednesday)."

The loss also meant free rides to the knockout wildcard for Coca-Cola and Burger King since their five wins can only be tied by RoS but not surpassed by either the Painters nor the Boosters.

Yousif Aljamal's 20 points and 11 rebounds led Barako Bull, which also drew double-digit efforts from Leo Najorda, Alex Crisano and Ogie Menor.

The Energy Boosters actually had a 55-44 advantage off the boards but they simply had no answer to the Realtors' repeated surges that ripped wide open what started out as a close game.

Sta. Lucia simply had too many weapons.

A rejuvenated Marlou Aquino added 17 points, undrafted rookie free agent Joshua Urbiztondo finished with 14 points, six rebounds and as many assists, while Ryan Reyes and Gabby Espinas chipped in 11 apiece with the former adding six rebounds and game-highs of 10 assists and four steals.

All of those translated into a big 31-18 fourth quarter for the Realtors, who went into the final period ahead by just 77-68.

Sta. Lucia actually had a big finish in the second period, with Williams scattering 10 points in a 21-5 explosion that plucked the Realtors out of a 41-44 bind and gave them a 62-49 halftime lead.

At 37 years old and the fourth oldest in the league, Aquino was the biggest factor in the first half before finishing with conference highs in points and assists (three). He added five rebounds, which matched his most this conference.

"Marlou has been practicing well. We have had a conditioning drill the past few months and he's been dedicating himself to that," related Fernandez.

"That's why we gave him the first option in the first half, para naman masiyahan siya," he added.

Aquino gladly obliged with 13 points in the opening period with Urbiztondo and Williams joining in as SLR erected leads of 20-8 and 24-12.

Aljamal, Najorda and Menor would not let the difference balloon right there as they combined in an 11-0 spurt that gave them a 32-31 edge. (NC)

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