PBL: HAPEE DEFUSES VIVA, TIES SERIES

Pasig City, June 11, 2003 By Joey Villar, (Star) Hapee Toothpaste slowed down Viva Mineral Water’s vaunted running game with its own sleek offensive thrust as it hacked out a 52-43 victory yesterday to level their best-of-five duel for the Sunkist PBL Unity Cup crown at one game apiece at the Pasig Sports Center.

Unlike in Game 1, which an erratic, fumbling Hapee side dropped, 57-64, in Lucena City Saturday, the Teeth Sparklers came out an organized lot this time and asserted their supremacy over the very same team they dominated four times in the elims.

"The key was our being tough this time," said Hapee coach Junel Baculi. " We took away their running game."

Game Three is set on Saturday at the Pasay Sports Complex.

Joseph Allan Salangsang and Nino Gelig stood at the forefront of the Teeth Sparklers’ charge by scoring 13 points apiece although it was Eugene Tan who shone brightest on the defensive end.

Tan, adjudged the player of the game, chipped in five points, snared five rebounds, issued seven assists, made a steal and a block shot in a splendid effort that more than made up for his subpar performance last Saturday.

After a sloppy opening quarter, the Lamoiyan franchise started to play tough defense as it held the San Miguel Corp.-owned franchise to just six second-quarter points that set the tone for the rout.

The Teeth Sparklers, however, struggled in offense with a 21-of-67 clip but they were better off than the Water Force, who missed 43 of their 59 attempts.

Tan also led Hapee in forcing Viva to turn the ball 23 times, which it translated to 16 points.

The Teeth Sparklers also led in rebounds (49-40), assists (15-9), steals (8-5) and blocks (4-3) in mighty effort that depicted their ability to thrive under tremendous pressure.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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