AICC Manila forced a winner-take-all battle for the inaugural Filbasket championship after eking out a 74-70 win over the San Juan Knights-Go For Gold at the Subic Bay Gymnasium on Sunday, November 21.
Chris Bitoon delivered a team-high 13 points to go with 2 rebounds and 2 assists as Manila bounced back from its 74-80 loss in the finals opener to knot the best-of-three series at 1-1.
The Knights trailed by as many as 16 points in the final quarter before they made a last-ditch comeback attempt, cutting their deficit to 65-70 with 1:40 minutes left off a Rhenz Abando triple.
However, Manila kept San Juan at bay as Bitoon and Hesed Gabo sank their pressure-packed free throws to give their side enough breathing room.
Gabo came off the bench and produced 12 points and 3 rebounds, Jesse Collado had 11 points and 6 rebounds, while Michael Mabulac churned out 7 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
San Juan led 16-11 after the opening period, but Manila rained four triples in a 28-point second-quarter outburst to seize a 39-26 halftime lead.
Abando paced the Knights with 16 points off the bench, while Adrian Nocum chipped in 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.
The do-or-die Game 3 is slated on Monday, November 22. – Rappler.com