Montilla leads Sykes to series-tying win over Accenture
Cebu City, Philippines – Earl Montilla was the man of the hour for Sykes as he hit all the big shots in the game’s most crucial moments in the Pioneers’ thrilling 69-68 win over the Accenture Sharks in Game 2 of the Elite Classic division finals of the Tanduay Athletics E-Leagues for Basketball on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the City Sports Club-Cebu.
The Sharks were hellbent on finishing the series and claiming the title and were headed that way after two free-throws by Giovanni Inez put Accenture ahead, 66-64, with under a minute remaining.
But Montilla, a former guard of the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters, refused to quit and canned a booming triple to shove Sykes back ahead, 67-66, time down to 26 seconds.
Accenture had a shot at regaining the lead but Aldene Batino missed two free-throws and Sykes was able to track down the looseball.
However, the Pioneers struggled to find the open man on the ensuing inbound, and Batino pounced, coming up with a steal before passing it off to a streaking Jetro Gonzaga, who canned the go-ahead layup for the Sharks, 68-67.
With no timeouts remaining, Montilla drove down the length of the floor and into the teeth of Accenture’s defense before softly banking in a floater to give Sykes the lead, 69-68, with just 1.9 ticks to go.
Still, Accenture had a shot at winning the game but Sherwin Resilla’s jumper was blocked by Joerico Maneja as time expired to give Sykes the pulse-pounding victory.
Montilla finished with 26 points and nine rebounds while Janjan Auditor, who had to fight off cramps, added 13 markers and eight boards.
Archie Batua led Accenture with 18 while Resilla added 16. /bjo
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