Cagayan de Oro Higalas nips Roxas Vanguards to move closer to finals berth in PSL Pearl of the Orient Cup

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The Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Higalas took a step closer towards booking a spot in the finals as they beat the Roxas Vanguards, 72-64, in Game One of the of the best-of-three semifinals in the Pilipinas Super League Pearl of the Orient Cup presented by Cocolife and backed by Smart 5G on Tuesday night at the Manuel Roxas Sports Complex.

Nichole Ubalde came alive in crunchtime, scoring the go-ahead layup in transition before adding a tough jumper late to help seal the victory for the Higalas.

The game was tied at 63-all with 4:05 to go in the game after Justin Serrano and Oliver De Guzman canned consecutive three-pointers. But Ubalde responded, stripping Serrano of the ball before coasting for an unmolested layup to push CDO in front.

Roxas had a chance to tie the game but Jeson Delfinado missed two free-throws. CDO then pounced with John Tayongtong driving down the lane and scoring on a left-handed layup to push the Higalas’ lead to four, 67-63. Ubalde then sealed CDO’s win with a tough, contested jumper that put them ahead, 69-63, with just 56 seconds left in the match.

CDO will have a chance to secure a seat in the finals in Game Two on Wednesday.

Jaybie Mantilla led the Higalas with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while bullstrong forward Red Cachuela added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Mario Bonleon and Jaymar Gimpayan scored 14 points apiece for Roxas.

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