SLR 79, B-Meg 86

On: 08 April 2010

SLR vs B-Meg

The Philippine Cup ruler was off to a triumphant start in the import-laden tourney. Coach Ryan Gregorio and his troops won their first game under the B-MEG Derby Ace banner, topping Sta. Lucia Realty, 86-79, in the 2010 PBA Fiesta Conference at the Cuneta Astrodome on 7 April 2010.

Import Lorenzo Wade played limited minutes due to early fouls but the Derby Ace locals rose to the occasion as the Llamados, formerly the Purefoods TJ Giants, beat out the Realtors in a fierce battle.

"We buckled down on defense. That's still the way we play and even our import is slowly understanding why we're successful," said the Derby Ace mentor.

"The biggest thing is that we understand that we're not the champion in this tournament. The earlier we understand that, the better for us," Gregorio added.

The Llamados play back-to-back games, taking on the Air21 Express on Friday in the same venue.

"We're playing again Friday. What's nice is that we know how to play consecutive games. More important is that we have to win as many games possible while awaiting the return of Kerby Raymundo," said Gregorio.

"Kerby is rehabilitating his injured knee. But for as long as the other guys are stepping up, we have no problem," Gregorio added.

Nino Canaleta did just that against Sta. Lucia with the 6-foot-3 forward pouring in 14 of his 18 points in the final half.

"We kept it close until we missed a string of foul shots at the finish. Those missed foul shots cost us the game," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

The Realtors were in hot chase of the Llamados entering the final stretch when they bricked five straight free throws. Overall, Sta. Lucia muffed 17 of 37 charities. The Llamados cashed in on these misses in handing the Realtors a third loss against a lone win.

Despite Wade on the bench, the Llamados got away with a crucial run bridging the last two quarters to open up a 14-point spread at 72-58. But the Realtors never gave up, banking on the gutsy plays of Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams and Jason Urbiztondo to come back in the thick of things at 73-76. Then came the Realtors' successive missed free throws allowing the Llamados to regain control.

Derby Ace swayed the tide back in its favor on a basket each by Wade, Roger Yap and Canaleta. Wade marked his debut in the local pro league with 20 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal against six turnovers. James Yap, like Canaleta, produced 18 points with Paul Artadi adding 10 points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist. Anthony Johnson led the Realtors with 26 points, nine rebounds and one steal. Johnson had his own crucial misses that hastened the Realtors’ downfall. (SB)

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