Philippine basketball

Manila edges San Juan to nail No. 1 seed in Filbasket playoffs

Delfin Dioquino
Manila edges San Juan to nail No. 1 seed in Filbasket playoffs

TOP SEED. AICC Manila finishes the eliminations with a league-leading 8-2 record.

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AICC Manila storms back from a 13-point deficit to thwart the San Juan Knights in the final game of the Filbasket elimination round

AICC Manila shrugged off a lethargic start and survived a gutsy comeback from the San Juan Knights – Go For Gold, 75-69, to clinch the top seed in the Filbasket playoffs at the Subic Bay Gymnasium on Monday, November 15.

Big man Michael Mabulac starred with 19 points and 8 rebounds as Manila stormed back from a 13-point deficit with a third-quarter explosion to finish the eliminations with a league-leading 8-2 record.

Manila scored just 22 points in the first half and trailed by 10 points at halftime but found its groove in the third quarter, outscoring San Juan 32-14 behind Michael Juico.

Juico dropped 9 of his 16 points in the third quarter as Manila seized a 54-46 advantage going into the final salvo.

Manila stretched its lead to as big as 12 points before holding off a San Juan fightback led by Rhenz Abando.

Abando – who tallied 8 points and 3 rebounds – converted 5 straight points in the final minute to cut their deficit to 66-71, but the lead Manila built proved too big to overcome for San Juan.

Jessie Collado churned out 10 points and 4 rebounds, while Hesed Gabo had 10 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals for Manila, which will enjoy a twice-to-beat bonus against No. 8 Mtrans Batangas City Tanduay in the playoffs.

With the loss, San Juan dropped to a tie with the Davao Occidental Tigers – Cocolife at 7-3, settling for third place by virtue of losing their elimination round matchup.

San Juan will tangle with No. 6 Medical Depot, while No. 2 Davao will face No. 7 Burlington EOG Sports.

Meanwhile, the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors locked up the No. 5 spot with a 101-70 mauling of winless Muntinlupa Defenders to set up a playoff clash with No. 4 Nueva Ecija Bespren, which earlier beat Batangas City, 93-87.

The playoffs is slated to start on Tuesday, November 16. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.