Zamboanga Sibugay showed its class in beating MFT Iligan, 82-71, in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge at the Pagadian City Gymnasium on Wednesday.
The Anak Mindanao Warriors set the tone with a 28-9 first quarter, but the Archangels regrouped and refused to go down easily.
Iligan got within eight after a strong start to the third quarter, 41-49, but Zamboanga Sibugay retaliated right away with nine straight points to restore order, 58-41.
In the fourth quarter, Iligan slowly came back to within nine after a triple by Elmer Aparice with 2:05 remaining, 69-78.
But it was too little, too late as Shaq Imperial and Monbert Arong provided the daggers for Zamboanga Sibugay.
"Ni-remind ko lang sila before the game na huwag maging over-confident. Kaya noong nakakahabol 'yung Iligan, sinabiham ko sila na huwag mag-relax," said Warriors head coach Arnold Oliveros, who celebrated his birthday with a huge victory.
Zamboanga Sibugay improved to solo second seed at 7-4 with Basilan BRT as their last assignment on Friday, 4 p.m.
Arong registered a game-high 23 points on 50 percent shooting from the field to go with four rebounds and two steals.
Imperial added 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals, while Jaybie Mantilla had 11 points.
Lugie Cuyos led Iligan with 18 points and five rebounds, while Rendell Dela Rea and Eugene Torres combined for 21 points.
The Archangels finished the eliminations at 3-9 for seventh place and will have a twice-to-win disadvantage come the quarterfinals against the two-seed.
Zamboanga Sibugay 82 - Arong 23, Imperial 14, Mantilla 11, Sorela 8, Caunan 8, Octobre 5, Dumapig 4, Tayongtong 4, Bangcoyan 3, Lacastesantos 2, Almocera 0, Acain 0, Albrecht 0.
Iligan 71 - Cuyos 18, Dela Rea 11, Torres 10, Cecilio 9, Aparice 8, Quinga 5, Rivera 4, Bernardino 2, Tagolimot 2, Bautista 2, Benitez 0, Andrade 0.
Quarterscores: 28-9, 47-33, 67-51, 82-71.