Gems trounce S'chargers, clinch last semifinal berth
MANILA, Philippines - Cebuana Lhuillier clamped down on defense and battled back from 10 points down in the fourth to repulse Big Chill, 67-60, and clinch the last semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Meralco gym yesterday.
The Gems held the Superchargers to just eight points in the last 10 minutes of play to pound out the victory in their sudden death for the last Final Four seat.
Bambam Gamalinda scored a game-high 21 points while Alvin Padilla added 14 markers with the duo coming through with big plays in the fourth where the Gems outscored the Superchargers, 19-3, in the last 8:27 of the contest.
“My players are not really winners but they have proven themselves,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boyzie Zamar after the win that set them up against the powerhouse NLEX Road Warriors.
The best-of-three semis starts tomorrow with No. 2 Jumbo Plastic taking on defending champion Blackwater Sports in the other Final Four clash at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
Cebuana Lhuillier actually struggled with its shooting all game but made the baskets that mattered most.
It was a loss for the Superchargers, who stormed to a 57-47 lead with 8:27 left on an Adrian Celeda triple. But the Gems toughened up on defense, forcing a series of Big Chill turnovers, which Cebuana converted into baskets.
The Gems limited the Superchargers to 3-of-16 shooting in the last eight minutes.
Mar Villahermosa tallied 14 points and Rodney Brondial had 12 markers for the Superchargers, who shot 34 percent for the game and a woeful 19 percent in the fourth.
The Gems, who have never reached this far since challenging NLEX for the inaugural championship of this same conference four years ago, gained some momentum by scoring 12 straight points.
Padilla, who also shackled Big Chill top shooter Janus Lozada to five points, ended that run with two free throws that tied the count at 57 then scored a layup to put the Gems ahead with 3:54 remaining.
“NLEX is a powerhouse team. It will be a tough game but we will be out there fighting,” said Zamar.