There was a sense of deja vu for the B-MEG Llamados when Gary David hit a miracle three-pointer in regulation to force overtime for the Powerade Tigers.
But B-MEG had plenty to spare in the overtime period, repulsing a gutsy Powerade side for a 108-98 victory in a thrilling Governors’ Cup encounter at a packed Ibalong Centrum in Legazpi City, Albay.
With the win, B-MEG formalized its entry to the next round as it finished its elimination round campaign with a 6-3 record.
“We were supposed to clinch the semis early, then we found out later that we didn’t clinch it. We thought five was the magic number and we’re either solo second or a game behind Rain or Shine,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone.
The loss, the third straight for the Tigers, put the squad’s fate in limbo as its win-loss record dropped to 4-5, good for seventh spot.
Only six teams will advance to the semifinal round. Powerade needs to hope that Barako Bull defeats Meralco on Sunday to force a three-way tie for sixth to eighth places, which will result in a two-tier playoff for the last semifinals seat.
The Llamados looked like they had the game in the bag, up four points, 89-85, with just 15 seconds remaining. But Marqus Blakely fouled JVee Casio, who made two of three free throws to cut the lead to a single basket.
The Tigers fouled Josh Urbiztondo, who split his free throws, paving the way for David to hit a turnaround, fadeaway three-pointer off the glass with 1.6 seconds left to force extra time.
“We went into that overtime with a real emotional downer that we thought we had the game won then David hit that three-pointer off the backboard,” said Cone.
David also hit a three-pointer to force overtime in the Tigers’ quarterfinal series against the Llamados in the Philippine Cup, a game Powerade ended up winning. This time, however, B-MEG didn’t let that happen.
“The key was our guys turning around mentally and still going out. We had a couple of steals and a couple of breakaways. I told them before the start of the overtime is a test of character, so they have to prove themselves.”
Back-to-back baskets by James Yap, who had his finest performance in the tournament with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks, triggered a 20-8 run by the Llamados in overtime and put away the Tigers.
With a semis ticket in hand, Cone is already looking ahead.
“We’ve got to have a quick turnaround after this provincial game and prepare for the semis. PJ (Simon) got hurt when he played down the stretch. James played hurt, too, luckily it was just cramps. JC (Intal) has been having problem with his calf the whole conference but we’re managing him,” said Cone.
B-MEG (110) – Blakely 31, Yap 24, Simon 17, Urbiztondo 9, Pingris 8, Intal 6, De Ocampo 6, Reavis 5, Villanueva 4, Barroca 0.
Powerade (98) – David 34, Casio 23, Sneed 21, Tugade 5, Lingganay 5, Salvador 4, Anthony 2, Belasco 2, Adducul 2, Guevarra 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Vanlandingham 0.
Quarters: 22-24 47-39 66-63 90-90 110-98