MANILA — Cebu Sharks kept its Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League playoff hopes alive after stunning Quezon City Capitals, 95-89, on Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Sharks raced to a double-digit lead at halftime, 47-36, but the Capitals stayed on track for a comeback and were just down by six, 76-82, early in the fourth quarter.
Cebu then unleashed an 11-4 run capped by Rhaffy Octobre's dagger triple to pull away for good.
"Sinabihan ko lang 'yung players ko nung halftime na huwag maging kumpyansa, mabuti naman naka-recover sila nung fourth quarter nung humabol na ang Quezon City (I told my players during halftime not to be complacent. It's good that they recovered in the fourth quarter when Quezon City was catching up)," Sharks head coach Noynoy Falcasantos said.
Will McAloney and Fletcher Galvez each put up 17 points and five rebounds for Cebu, which moved up to 11-12, one game behind Bicol for the eighth spot in the Southern Division standings.
Joco Tayongtong put up 23 markers for QC, which is now at the brink of elimination after falling to 10-16.
In the first game, playoff-bound Bacoor City continued its hot run with a 100-88 rout of also-ran Marikina.
The Strikers pulled away late in the second quarter, finishing the period with a 26-12 blast to break a 30-all tie and take a 56-42 halftime lead, something they did not give up until the end, although the Shoemasters still put up a gallant stand in some parts of the game.
"Coming off a long break, it's hard to play the same way we were playing last time. We had good stretches but Marikina was so tough and came to compete tonight," Bacoor City coach Chris Gavina said.
Michael Cañete had 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks to lead the Strikers, which won for the fifth straight time and moved up to 20-5, a game behind the Davao Occidental Tigers for first place in the Southern Division standings.
Michael Mabulac also tallied a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Yvez Sazon's 35-point bomb and Ato Ular's 21-point and 23-rebound performance fell short as the Shoemasters further slipped to 4-19, tying the Rizal Crusaders in the last place in the Northern Division. (PNA)