Satria Muda Pertamina got their first victory of the 2017 Merlion Cup in Singapore after beating Philippine representatives NLEX-SCTEX, 104-90. The game had no real bearing since both teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention after going winless in their first two games.
NLEX-SCTEX’s Byron Villarias and Jason Perkins each scored 10 quick points in the first quarter to keep it close, 27-24, in favor of the Indonesian club. However, NLEX coach Jojo Lastimosa was immediately forced to call a timeout barely a minute and a half into the second quarter after an 8-0 SMP run was capped off by Hardianus’ three-pointer. Shawn Taggart extended the lead to 17 with a three of his own with a little over four minutes left in the first half.
A Gary Jacob Jr. three pointer followed by Kevin Sitorus’ hook shot at the 6:40 mark in the third quarter gave SMP their biggest lead at 21 and they never really looked back. NLEX was able to cut the lead to 12 with 2:22 remaining in the game when JP Belencion hit a three from the top of the key, but that was as close as the Filipino team got late in the game.
Fil-Am Jason Perkins and Byron Villarias were the two bright spots on offense for NLEX SCTEX when the final buzzer sounded. Perkins had 32 points and 15 rebounds, while Villarias added 26 points. Veteran point guard Pamboy Raymundo chipped in with 13 and was the only other Filipino who scored in double digits.
“We did not play as well as we wanted to. I think we were slow today. On the other hand, Indonesia played really great. The import carried the whole team, but the locals shot well from the field too. This sums it up – they shot well, we didn’t. We only want to play better than the last game. We regressed today. I thought we were okay in the first game, and we were great in the second. I thought we would improve today but we didn’t – we regressed. I hope we can come back tomorrow and play better,” shared NLEX-SCTEX Coach Jojo Lastimosa.
Gary Jacobs Jr. was all over the floor for Satria Muda Pertamina with 33 points and 6 rebounds, while fellow import Taggart added 29 points and 10 rebounds of his own.
“This is our first win for the tournament and we are looking forward to playing against the Taiwanese team. It would be nice to win against them and get at least fifth place” said SMP big man Dior Lawhorn, looking for a solid finish in the annual tournament.
Satria Muda improves to 1-2, while NLEX-SCTEX remains winless in three games. Both teams will play for 5th and 7th place against Taiwan’s Yulon Luxgen Dinos, with NLEX-SCTEX having the first crack Saturday at 2:00 PM. Satria Muda Pertamina Jakarta will meet the winner between NLEX-SCTEX and Yulon Luxgen on Sunday. Both games will be played at OCBC Arena prior to the playoff and final games.