Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors blasted the Imus Buracai de Laiya, 100-80, to bag the third place and the P200,000 cash prize in the Chooks-To-Go MPBL Invitational at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, Dec. 23.

Jhaps Bautista tries to score in Pasig Sta.Lucia Realtor’s 100-80 win over Imus Buracai de Laiya at the SM Mall of Asia Arena (MPBL Photo)

Jeckster Apinan led the charge for the Realtors with 16 points and nine rebounds for Pasig while team captain Jeron Teng saved his best game in the battle for third with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

The victory enabled the Realtors to bounce back from a heartbreaking 77-72 loss against Basilan Jumbo Plastic Depot that denied them a trip to the Finals and a chance to win the P2 Million top purse.

“After ng game siyempre masama yung loob namin, gusto rin naming pumasok ng finals. Ang nangyari, sa [group chat] namin nag usap naman, inistart ni cap [Jeric Teng] na bounce back kami today so nag follow na lang yung ibang players,” said Pasig head coach Bong Dela Cruz.

Pasig started to pull away for good in the second quarter as Apinan and Jhapz Bautista engineered an 11-3 spurt to build the game’s first double-digit lead at 42-32 with 4:30 left before the halftime break.

The Realtors never looked back from that point as Pasig kept its foot on the gas pedal in the ensuing quarter and built the largest lead of the game at 31, 94-63, with 5:51 left in the game.

Bautista and Ryan Costelo provided support for the Realtors with 12 points apiece.

Genmar Bragais paced Imus with 23 points and six rebounds as the team played without all-MPBL team member Adi Santos who had an ankle injury on Wednesday in their semifinals match against Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards.

Kurt Reyson tried to fill in the scoring with his 14 points powered by four triples but was still not enough to help Imus overcome Pasig.

Pasig-Sta. Lucia 100 – Apinan 16, Teng 14, Bautista 12, Costelo 12, Lingganay 9, Arana 8, Caralipio 8, Mina 6, Ablaza 6, Chan 6, Yu 3, Pena 0.

Imus-Buracai de Laiya 80 – Bragais 23, Reyson 14, Melencio 10, Eguilos 10, Tan 6, Llagas 6, Mangalino 6, Medalla 3, Mescalado 2, Go 0, Fuentes 0.

Quarterscores: 23-19, 53-41, 77-56, 100-80.

Source: Manila Bulletin (