PBL: BLU STAR EDGES ICTSI

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2003 (MALAYA) - Blu Star Detergent outlasted ICSTI-La Salle in a thrilling shootout down the stretch last night to eke out an 85-80 overtime victory in the PBL Platinum Cup at the Pasig Sports Center.

Lou Gatumbato and Ismael Junio starred in the team's victory as they combined for nine points in the extra period. Gatumbato, who finished with 17 points - the highest production so far in the two-day-old tournament - sent the game into overtime with a booming triple with barely 2.6 seconds left in regulation.

The shifty Gatumbato opened the extra five minutes with back-to-back baskets and then Juinio highlighted that decisive 9-0 binge with a triple.

But Cholo Villanueva gave life to the cause of the Archers as he sparked a 7-1 blitz that moved them to within 78-81. That proved to be their last gallant stand as Junio calmly sank two pressure-packed charities to seal the win.

With the win, the Detergent Kings joined opening day winners Welcoat Paints and Montana Pawnshop on top of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, the Philippine team put its act together in the nick of time to repulse Viva Mineral Water 77-71.

Ranidel de Ocampo banged in a game-high 15 points but it was frontcourt partner Ervin Sotto and wingman James Yap who delivered the telling blows that flattened last conference's biggest revelation.

Protecting a precarious 74-71 lead with over a minute left, the 6-foot-7 Sotto, playing for Welcoat, beat the shotclock with a long jumper to pad the lead to five.

Yap, who groped for his shooting touch for most of the game, completed a steal with two free throws off Arwind Santos' foul with barely 19 seconds remaining.

The Water Force failed to create a decent play once again and Yap sealed scoring with a charity split.

It was the first in a series of four exhibition games for the Nationals, who are honing for the Vietnam SEA Games next month.

The scores:

FIRST GAME

RP Team 77 - De Ocampo 15, melencio 13, David 11, Yap 10, Calimag 9, Cruz 7, Alvarez 4, Wilson 2, Sotto 2, Pingris 2, Artadi 2, Madrid 0.

Viva 71 - Isip 15, Miranda 12, Napa 9, Razon 8, Santos 7, Margate 5, Catli 5, Misolas 4, Co 2, Ybanes 2, Yabut 2, Rizada 0, Reyes 0.

Quarterscores: 10-18; 26-37; 50-52; 77-71.

SECOND GAME

Blu Star 85 - Gatumbato 17, Dela Cuesta 13, Mesina 9, Junio 8, Basilides 7, Gamboa 6, Pascual 6, Victoria 6, Prior 5, David 4, Lopez 2, Almeda 2.

ICTSI 80 - Cardona 17, Ramos 17, Villanueva 15, Aldeguer 10, Cabatu 9, Thoss 8, Uy 2, Aquino 2, Gavino 0, Jose 0, Sharma 0, Magsumbol 0.

Quarterscores: 16-19; 34-31; 54-48; 71-all; 85-80.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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