Encho Serrano powers Pampanga to NBL finals


Posted at Nov 22 2021 02:14 PM

Encho Serrano led the way in Pampanga's hard-earned win over Taguig. Handout photo
Encho Serrano led the way in Pampanga's hard-earned win over Taguig. Handout photo

Encho Serrano took charge in overtime to lift Pampanga to a 112-108 win over Taguig, in the process securing their spot in the finals of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go NBL Chairman's Cup, Sunday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

With his team down, 105-101, early in overtime, Serrano took charge with back-to-back triples, before Levi Hernandez rifled in a three-pointer of his own for a 110-105 Delta lead.

Dan Natividad and Mike Sampurna gave Taguig one last fight, slicing the lead to two with 51 seconds left but a cold-blooded jumper by Serrano with three seconds left punched his team’s ticket to the finals.

Serrano had a game-high 25 points in the game, shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep.

Delta had a slow start in the game, falling behind by as much as 23 points in the first half and nine points heading into the final frame.

Behind the likes of Mark Dyke, CJ Gania, and Michael Garcia, Delta chipped into the Generals’ lead -- even gaining a 97-92 lead with 3:01 left in regulation.

The Generals answered with a 6-2 spurt capped by a Sampurna jumper that gave Taguig a 101-99 lead with 47 ticks left. It was Garcia who sent the game into overtime, cleaning up a Hernandez miss in the next possession.

Pampanga will play La Union in the best-of-three finals, a rematch of last year's championship series.

Rhanzelle Yong and Dyke notched double-doubles with the former finishing with 18 points and 15 boards, while the latter tallied 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Hernandez had 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting, while Garcia and Jayson David had 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Natividad led the way for the Generals with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

Sampurna got 19 points, seven assists, and four rebounds, while LJ Mayo scattered 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Noel Santos also had a standout game for Taguig with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field with seven rebounds, while Harvey Subrabas knocked down four treys for 12 points.

The scores:

Pampanga 112 - Serrano 25, Yong 18, Garcia 16, Dyke 15, Hernandez 13, David 12, Gania 9, Santos J. 2, Liangco 2, Binuya 0, Pascual 0, Tamayo 0, Santos R. 0.

Taguig 108 - Natividad 22, Sampurna 19, Mayo 14, Santos 13, Subrabas 12, Castro 11, Lontoc 11, Caduada 3, Oliveria 2, Tancioco 1, Yasa 0, Gilbero 0.

Quarterscores: 22-24, 44-60, 69-78, 101-101, 112-108.