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THE Zamboanga Sibugay Anak Mindanao Warriors are now just a win away from capturing the championship in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge after they defeated the BYB Kapatagan Buffalos, 74-63, in Game One of the best-of-three finals on Wednesday night, Dec. 15 at the Pagadian City Gymnasium.
The Warriors leaned on a 12-2 finishing kick to turn what was a close game in their favor. Ahead by just a point after a Jonel Bonganciso basket on the other end, Rhaffy Octobre hit a triple that kickstarted the game-deciding blitz.
Enrique Caunan, Jan Jamon, Jaybie Mantilla, and Shaq Imperial added seven more points before Octobre topped it off with a booming perimeter shot for the dagger with 44.1 seconds left, 73-62.
In spite of the victory, Warriors head coach Arnold Oliveros said they still have to tighten up their defense to finish off the Buffalos in Game Two.
“We still have to work on our defense. We have to wear them out; out-run them, just to get the championship,” said Zamboanga Sibugay head coach Arnold Oliveros.
“We clogged the paint to secure the boards and slow down their momentum,” said Oliveros.
Mantilla, the one-time Cesafi MVP, had another spectacular showing as he piled up 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and three steals.
Jamon chipped in 15 points of his own, built on three treys while Octobre added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Richard Kwong, who fouled out with 2:03 left in the match, led the Buffalos with 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Bonganciso got 15 points and 10 rebounds while KD Ariar had 13 points and six rebounds.
Conference MVP Edrian Lao was silenced with just six points on 2-of-13 shooting. / JNP