PIZZA HUT were given a lifeline for a semi-final berth with a 78-71 victory over Muara Gas in Group B of the 37 years old and below category of the Filipino Amateur Basketball (FAB) tournament at the Brunei Basketball Association (BBA) court in Batu Bersurat last night.
Marvin Belleza, the playing coach of Pizza Hut, topscored for the team with 23 points and John Ambanta contributed 16 points for the victory.
On the other hand, Ronald Cornejo had a game-high of 22 points to lead Muara Gas and Joven Balasta chipped in 12 points in a losing effort.
Pizza Hut came out playing man-to-man defence right from the start and pressured their opponents to make turnovers, turning them into fastbreak points. Muara Gas were trying to execute their offence from the low post but had difficulty with Pizza Hut covering the lanes.
Belleza was the go-to-man for Pizza Hut and he had nine points in the opening period helping his team open up a 26-14 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Muara Gas were out of sync on offence and failed to convert on some easy shots despite Pizza Hut letting down their guard on defence in the second period. Both teams struggled from the field but the scores remained with Pizza Hut ahead at 35-25 at halftime.
Pizza Hut came out with a running game after the interval while Muara Gas looked lost on defence. Pizza Hut were passing the ball well to their open players and making their shots putting them in cruise control as they extended their lead to 53-39 going into the final stanza.
It was all Pizza Hut in the fourth quarter as they were draining their shots from both the inside and outside as they extended the gap to as many as 20 points. They could even afford to rest all their starters and fielded their reserves midway through the period.
Muara Gas did stage a late comeback and managed to cut the deficit to single digit but they ran out of time and fell to their second defeat in as many games leaving them out of making the semi-finals.
"Tonight (Saturday night) the team gave 100 per cent to the match. We had a good game and executed well to grab the win," said Belleza, in an interview with The Brunei Times, after the triumph.
"The team showed that they have gelled well but I believe that we can still play better."
Result of the late match between Hua Ho Glory and Hope in Group A was not available at Press time.
The competition continues today with Welflex Engineering taking on Brunei Buffaloes in the 38 years old and above category at 9pm followed by a matchup between Muara Gas and the GILR Wildcats in Group B of the 37 years old and below category at 10.30pm.
The Brunei Times
Sunday, February 28, 2010
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