Alcantara — MJAS Zenith-Talisay City gained an outright spot in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup—Visayas Leg finals as it completed a sweep of the elimination round with a 99-62 rout of the ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu, Thursday at the Civic Center here in Cebu.
The win gave Talisay City an immaculate 10-0 record after the double round-robin elims, which earned them an automatic spot in the best-of-three Visayas leg finals.
The development meant the rest of the field would have to play in a stepladder format to determine who will get the other ticket in the best-of-three finals.
In this format, the second seed would advance to the semifinals where they will have a twice-to-beat advantage. The third and sixth seeds, as well as the fourth and fifth seeds, would compete in knockout games where the winners would face one another for the right to take on the second-seed in the semis.
“Malaking bagay sa amin na makuha namin ‘yung sweep para makapahinga kami,” said Aquastars head coach Aldrin Morante. “Siguro masasabi ko lang is all of this is because of the players. They deserve to rest.”
The Aquastars rode the red-hot shooting of Patrick Cabahug in the first period, where he tallied nine, to help the team establish a 24-9 lead.
From there, it was all Talisay City as Lapu-Lapu struggled to find the basket and did not get the deficit down to double-digits, going only as close as 12 the rest of the way.
Talisay City closed out the game in dominant fashion, outscoring Lapu-Lapu, 30-11, in the fourth period, highlighted by a pair of slam dunks from the high-leaping Jaymar Gimpayan.
Cabahug finished with 22 points spiked by five triples while Kevin Villafranca helped out with 12 points, five boards, and two assists.
Darrell Menina came off the bench and tallied 11 points, four boards, four dimes, and two steals while wide-bodied big man Allan Santos missed out on a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Aquastars’ skipper Paulo Hubalde also orchestrated Talisay City’s offense to perfection and finished with six points, seven boards, and 13 assists.
The Heroes struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 31-percent including a paltry 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. The loss dropped them to 4-5 with just one more game left on their elims schedule.
Ferdinand Lusdoc paced ARQ with 12 points while Jojo Tangkay and Chris Regero chipped in 10 markers apiece.
Rendell Senining, who returned from a six-game suspension, had four points and four assists in 20 minutes of gametime.
ARQ faces Tubigon Bohol for its final assignment in the elims tomorrow at 7 p.m.