LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – Host Treston Laguna drew a solid performance from its key players in the final half to pull off an impressive 99-88 win over top seed Ascof Lagundi and win the third leg of the Tournament of the Philippines (TOP) Friday at Trace College Gym.
The Stallions struggled early but gathered enough steam in the third to take the initiative before lowering the boom in the payoff period to become the first host team to win a championship in the tournament jointly organized by the Philippine Basketball League and Liga Pilipinas.
JR Aquino and Alain Musni starred in Laguna’s come-from-behind win as they fired 18 points each while Ricky Ricafuente and Leomar Losentes punished the Cough Busters with their torrid outside shooting. The veteran guards combined for 26 points aside ably orchestrating the team’s offense.
The Stallions fell behind by 11 points in the first quarter, 15-26, but rallied behind the efforts of Musni, Ricafuente, Losentes and Aquino to surge ahead, 71-65, going into the final 10 minutes.
The Cough Busters tried to turn things around but the best that they could do was to cut Laguna’s lead to 73-72.
“We were able to solve their defense. But of course, I would like to give credit to may key players who really carried this team like the veterans JR and Ricky,” said coach Nomar Isla.
Meantime, Mandaue Cebu repeated over Cobra Energy Drink, 84-83, to finish third in the tournament sponsored by Air21, Molten, Ascof Lagundi, Agrinurture, Treston College, Burlington and Basketball TV.
Mandaue Cebu 84 – Laygo 14, Zanoria 11, Gabas 10, Magdadaro 8, Diputado 7, Gavina 7, Gerilla 7, Ursal 6, Latonio 6, Berame 4, Villaver 2, Dennison 2, Caputolan 0.
Cobra 83 – Llagas 29, Canizares 16, Barua 9, Tecson 7, Bagatsing 6, Lingganay 6, Espiritu 5, Acuna 3, Afable 2, Nabong 0.
Quarters: 30-18, 52-39, 67-56, 84-83
Laguna 99 – Aquino 18, Musni 18, Ricafuente 14, Losentes 12, Sanz 9, Bolocon 6, Angeles 4, Mercado 3, Legaspi 3, Grijaldo 2, Mangahas 0.
Ascof Lagundi 88 – Gamalinda 20, Aguilar 20, Smith 10, Asoro 9, Canlas 6, Co 6, Uyloan 5, Leynes 5, Taylor 3, Maliksi 2, Mercado 2, Mangahas 0.
Quarters: 15-26, 42-44, 71-65, 99-88.