Gryann Mendoza carried KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue past ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu City and into the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup on Wednesday night at the Alcantara Civic Center in Cebu.
With Mendoza's help, KCS outlasted ARQ, 74-64, in the do-or-die semifinals.
After a sorry showing in their first match on Tuesday wherein he was limited to five points, Mendoza exploded with 25 points—on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc—to go with eight rebounds, an assist, a steal, and two blocks.
He also made several crucial plays that stymied ARQ’s fight back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth canto.
KCS will now move on to the finals where they will face off against unbeaten MJAS Zenith-Talisay City. Game One of the best-of-three series is on Friday at 6 p.m.
With KCS erecting a 60-45 lead early in the fourth, ARQ’s veteran wingman Jojo Tangkay scored nine points in a five-minute stretch to bring his team to within two, 62-64, with just 3:27 to go.
But Mendoza put out the fire with a pull-up jumper to raise their lead back to four, 66-62. He later found a cutting Michole Sorela for an easy two that brought KCS’ lead to six, 68-62, with 1:25 remaining.
KCS guard Ping Exciminiano then dropped a picture-perfect assist to Al Francis Tamsi who sank an undergoal stab that proved to be the telling blow to ARQ’s finals hopes.
KCS head coach Mike Reyes said he was forced to throw all the stats and planning out the window for this game. He instead motivated his team to play with passion after Tuesday’s lackluster effort.
“Wala ng Xs and Os. We already knew how they play and they knew how we play. It’s all about who will want it more,” said Reyes.
“I didn’t write anything on the board nor did we talk about any plays. I just gave them a small pep talk to motivate them a little bit.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES