MANILA – Dumaguete survived a fourth quarter blast from Tabogon and held on to a 67-65 overtime win in their knockout Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup playoff game on Saturday night at the Alcantara Civic Center in Cebu.
The fifth seeded Warriors got the needed baskets down the stretch in regulation and in the overtime session, the crucial stops in crunch time, and even one huge lucky break off an error from the fourth seeded Voyagers to pull off the upset to close out the first round of the stepladder phase.
Playing solid defense for almost the first three quarters, Dumaguete was holding to a 47-38 lead entering the final period.
However, Tabogon began the payoff period with a 19-2 run to go up, 57-49, with 3:12 remaining in regulation.
The Warriors crawled their way back to the game with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 57-all with 1:02 to go.
Arvie Bringas scored on an inside shot to put the Voyagers back on top, 59-57, but Jaybie Mantilla made two free throws off an AJ Vitug foul to tie the game once more at 59 apiece and eventually force overtime.
Both teams exchanged baskets at the start of the extension, but Ronald Roy converted a game-turning triple with 1:37 left to put Dumaguete up, 66-63.
The team got lucky somehow on the defensive end as Jethro Sombero and Harold Arboleda only made splits from the line to only trim the lead down to one, 66-65.
Sombero had a golden opportunity to redeem himself with less than 20 seconds left in the game, but he missed a potential go ahead layup for Tabogon.
Joemari Lacastesantos grabbed the offensive rebound and sued for time, but he was called for a technical foul as the Voyagers were already out of timeouts.
Mantilla converted the technical free throw to up the Warriors' lead to two with 6.1 seconds left.
Tabogon still got a shot at stealing the win as Arboleda decided to go for a three, but he missed the long-range even as Bringas missed his follow up that could have forced another overtime as time expired.
Fresh from an eye-popping statline in his last game, Mantilla somehow struggled, going 5-for-19 from the field, but he made up for it from the charity stripe, going 14-of-16 in free throws, and top scored the Warriors with 24 points alongside 12 rebounds, three assists, and four steals in nearly 37 and a half minutes of basketball.
His stamina for Sunday night in their quarterfinal meeting with the Lapu-Lapu Heroes would be a primary concern as well as the availability of Mannie Gabas after he got a busted nose early into the overtime session.
But with a semifinal spot on the line, Mantilla vowed that the Warriors will go all in.
“We’re all very tired but we still need to focus on Sunday’s game so we can’t relax. We need to fight to win or we’re all going home,” he said.
Mark Doligon added 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block, while Roy posted 11 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three steals off the bench.
Bringas broke the league record for the most rebounds grabbed all game long by taking 21 caroms while top scoring Tabogon with 18 points alongside one assist.
In another game, Lapu-Lapu escaped a last gasp from Tubigon to hack out a 73-69 win to advance in the quarterfinals.
The third seeded Heroes were on cruise for a blowout after opening a 53-36 lead over the sixth seeded Mariners with around three minutes left in the third quarter.
Tubigon, however, came alive and was just within four, 61-65, with 2:20 remaining in the fourth.
Timely free throws from Dawn Ochea and huge field goals from Reed Juntilla stretched Lapu-Lapu's lead back to 10, 71-61, with 1:01 to play.
Jerry Musngi kept the Mariners in the game with back-to-back baskets of his own, but Ochea converted an undergoal stab to seal the Heroes' win.
"Dawn played big. He stepped up again when we needed him most," Lapu-Lapu assistant coach Jerry Abuyabor said about Ochea's heroics.
Ochea finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block.
Juntilla added a double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds, two dimes, and one steal. (PNA)