MANILA, Philippines - Skyforce Team stunned defending champion Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, 89-87, at the start of the 2nd DELeague Open Invitational Basketball Cup last Sunday at the Marikina Sports Park gym, Marikina City.
Jonathan Aldave, who netted 12 points in the game, scored what proved to be the marginal basket for Skyforce with 1.13 seconds left in the game. Sta. Lucia tried to send the game to overtime or win the game with a triple but was not able to execute the final play as time expired.
Leo Avenido led Skyforce with 28 points.
Last year’s DELeague Most Valuable Player Francis “Kiko” Adriano scored 25 points for Sta. Lucia.
In the other game, Christian Jefferson made 21 points to lead last year’s third placer Hobe Bihon to an 85-71 victory over PL iTrade Inc. Jeff Sanders and Ricky Davis added 12 points each for Hobe.
Marikina City Mayor Del de Guzman graced the opener of the event.
“We expect close contests and competition will really be keen among the teams,” said De Guzman in his speech in front of the fans and the players from the 13 participating teams.
Joining Skyforce and Sta. Lucia in Group A are ACS Team, Globe Telecom, JEKASA Sportswear, During’s BBQ and Steel Trust Corp. while Hobe, PL iTrade, DSM Construction, Arquitectos Construction, Hog’s Breath Cafe and Power Networks make up Group B.
The top two teams in each group after the single-round elimination will advance to the crossover semifinals.
Also in the side events on Sunday, Sophia Andres of Sta. Lucia was crowned Best Muse even as shooter Ray Montaniel of PL iTrade Inc. and import Ricky Davis of Hobe Bihon were named Three-Point Shootout king and Slam Dunk champion, respectively.
DELeague games are scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are pegged at P10 each.