PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: REALTORS EDGE EXPRESS
MANILA, March 20, 2006 (MALAYA) Games today (Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Hong Kong) 4:10 p.m. – Purefoods vs. Talk N Text - (Araneta Coliseum) 4:10 p.m. – Coca-Cola vs. San Miguel Beer 6:35 p.m. – Air21 vs. Alaska
STA. Lucia Realty bucked the loss of Kenneth Duremdes down the stretch to notch a tense 102-100 win over Air21 last night in the Gran Matador-PBA Philippine Cup at the Astrodome
Paolo Mendoza hit a game-tying triple and Chester Tolomia delivered the winning basket off a Nelbert Omolon miss as the Realtors finally picked up their first win after three tries in the tournament.
Mendoza and Tolomia’s important baskets all happened inside the final 25 seconds of the game as they picked up their first win for the year and moved alongside the Express, now also 1-2.
The Express did themselves in, allowing a pass intended for Ren-Ren Ritualo get intercepted by Omolon and Ranidel de Ocampo missing a potential game-winning triple before the final buzzer.
Duremdes shot 30 points in the first three quarters, but got himself injured after a bad fall in the final quarter. With him sitting on the bench, the Realtors struggled.
They were trailing 93-98 as KG Canaleta, who posted career-highs in points and rebounds last night, drilled in his two charities for the Express.
But the Realtors valiantly fought their way back into the game as Mendoza scored five straight points, the last off a Dennis Espino feed that resulted in a booming triple from right quartercourt.
The Express had hoped to chew away some time off the remaining 25 seconds and go for the basket in the last few ticks of the game. But they bungled their opportunity with Omolon’s interception.
The 6-foot-3 forward raced to the basket, but was distracted by the chasing Patrick Fran. Luckily, the trailing Tolomia was there for the winning follow-up off Mark Telan.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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