Philippine basketball

Abando shines as San Juan stuns Manila in Game 1 of Filbasket finals

Martin Mendoza
Abando shines as San Juan stuns Manila in Game 1 of Filbasket finals

ONE MORE. Rhenz Abando (left) and the San Juan Knights draw first blood in the best-of-three finals.

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Rhenz Abando takes charge as the San Juan Knights inch closer to capturing the first-ever Filbasket championship

Rhenz Abando came up big for the San Juan Knights – Go For Gold as they took down the top-seeded AICC Manila, 80-74, in Game 1 of the Filbasket finals at the Subic Bay Gymnasium on Saturday, November 20.

Abando, the former UST Growling Tiger, finished with a team-high 17 points on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting for the Knights, who are now just one win away from capturing the first-ever Filbasket championship.

Coming off a thrilling 85-84 win over the Davao Occidental Tigers – Cocolife on Saturday, the Knights showed no signs of fatigue early as they led by as many as 20 points, 36-16, with 3:40 left in the opening half.

However, Manila managed to crawl back in the third period after outscoring San Juan, 30-18, for a slim 59-58 advantage going into the final frame.

Manila trailed by just a whisker in the payoff period, 68-69, until San Juan rode on a decisive 6-0 run for a 75-68 lead to pull away for good.

Orlan Wamar backstopped Abando with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Larry Rodriguez added 10 markers and 7 boards in the victory.

Hesed Gabo topscored for Manila in the losing effort with 22 points on top of 3 rebounds and 4 assists, while Chris Bitoon and Michael Mabulac contributed 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Game 2 of the best-of-three finals between San Juan and Manila is on Sunday, November 21, at 6 pm.

The Scores

San Juan 80 – Abando 17, Wamar 12, Rodriguez 10, Clarito 9, Nocum 8, Buñag 8, Ular 6, Abundo 5, Hernandez 4, Calma 1.

Manila 74 – Gabo 22, Bitoon 15, Mabulac 14, Juico 7, Manalang 5, Balucanag 4, Uyloan 3, Buenafe 2, Collado 2, Taganas 0, Eguilos 0, Siruma 0.

Quarters: 15-14, 40-29, 58-59, 80-74.