By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The resilient Roxas B squad made an offensive barrage late in the fourth quarter to edge the star-studded Roxas D squad in overtime, 98-95, in the ongoing 2022 On D’ Move (ODM) Sports League Capiz Inter-Town finals.
Edwin Loyola’s clutch three-point shot from the left elbow with five seconds left in the fourth quarter tied the ball game at 86 that put the crowd to their feet in the capacity-filled Dinggoy Roxas Civic Center.
It was Roxas D who pulled away with an early double-digit lead as the hot-shooting of sniper Mon Lustria capitalized on Roxas B’s turnovers that haunted them in the first half.
Aside from Lustria’s shooting, Jesan Dela Cruz’s relentless attack to the basket piled up more points for Roxas D and didn’t allow Roxas B to clinch the momentum midway through the second quarter.
Just when Roxas D started to ramp up their intensity, Roxas B’s veteran forward Junior Almeron provided the early spark for his team and made his own offensive run during the start of the third quarter.
Almeron’s hot-shooting and crafty conversions in the shaded area pulled Roxas B within four, 58-62, in the last five minutes of the third quarter and was later on backstopped by Rolly Libay who finally regained his shooting touch after a salty first half.
Roxas B’s Vincent Acolola then came alive and became their crucial break starter after forcing Roxas D to several turnovers that were turned into points to help them get back in the ball game before the fourth quarter started, 65-67.
As everyone expected, the final canto turned into a dog fight as both teams traded baskets vying for control of the game.
John Marvin Bacuta then gave Roxas B their first lead of the ball game after trailing for most of the first three quarters after burying a layup in the seventh-minute mark of the ball game.
With Michael Balbarada struggling from the field, it was Jason Dela Cruz who stepped up for Roxas D after giving the lead back to his team, 79-81, off a tough reverse layup.
A Roxas B basket deadlocked the game once again and put the pressure back to Roxas D. Lustria, who was quiet for the first eight minutes of the fourth, delivered when it mattered the most after swishing in a long trey that gave the lead back to his squad, 81-84.
After a Roxas B timeout, the next 45 seconds would show the heroics of Loyola as the stretch forward scored five crucial points that forced an extra period: first, he converted on a tough layup and later on sank the most important three-point basket of the game.
There was nothing that Roxas D could do during the overtime as Roxas B steamrolled their way in the last five minutes.
Roxas B’s Norman De Lara came up huge in the overtime period after grabbing most of the loose balls and gave his team a 96-93 lead in the last minute after burying a contested layup.
Annel Aman had the chance to trim Roxas B’s lead with 30 seconds left in the game but failed to convert both free throws.