Chicken Deli 888 squeaked past Kenny Rogers/Black Mamba, 109-105, Monday night to clinch win No. 5 in seven outings and regain the top spot in the ABC-ENCLAVES Cup at the Ayala Northpoint.
Kenny Rogers (4-2) looked poised for the victory as they were up by 8 points entering the fourth quarter led by Robby Jalandoon, who shot 17 of his 27 points in the third canto.
But Chicken Deli came out strong behind Nikol Medina in the first six minutes of the final quarter, chipping away the Roaster's lead and putting them within striking distance.
Dante Ma made up for missed free throws late in the game giving his team the lead for the first time in the second half, 99-98, after a putback with 2:45 remaining.
In the end, it was Chicken Deli's determination and hustle that sealed its victory.
Ma paced the Deli squad with 25 points and was closely followed by Arjay Jamero's 24.
Mark Carmona finished with 17, while Medina and Willy Dasal chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Christian Castro, Mark Jomalesa, Steven Villanueva, Pepe Balladares, and Adrian Cuaycong combined for another 20 points.
Jalandoon got scoring support from Snook Versoza with 16, Reygin Oquiana tallied 13 as Luigino Lacson and Chac Mirano registered 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Bren Tajonera and Fredel Doromal had 15 points between them, while Neilbert Alvarez, Bong Quinon, Brian and Macky Puentevella pooled in 10 points.
In the second game, CRIB Chicken and Ribs nipped Fil-Power, 82-81, for its fourth straight win after opening the tournament with a 0-3 record.
Down by 6 with 48 seconds remaining, CRIB through Renren Lacson uncorked a triple to cut the deficit to just three.
As CRIB was unable to convert on next possession, Brian Coo completed a rare 4-point play to give Fil-Power the lead with 11 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, CRIB executed to perfection its last play as Brod Hojilla came off a screen to score on a bank shot from 13 feet for the marginal basket with five seconds left.
Fil-Power failed to convert on their last possession as CRIB came away with the win.
Jason Denosta starred once again for CRIB (4-3) with 17 points as Hojilla finished with 16.
Andy Tio fired 12 points while Popoy Jamero added 11.
Marcos Escalante scored all of his 9 points in the fourth quarter, while Ryan Salazar, Alex Fernandez, Eric Jereza and Juan Miguel Golez capped off the victory with combined 17 points.
Coo led Fil-Power (3-3) with 17 points, while Ronan Batralo and Ian Abello had 13 points each.
Ramon Khey and Andres Fernandez finished with 10 apiece as Lacson, Jeremy Coo, Danny Yusay, David Lim and Garry Poloyapoy teamed up for 18 points.*
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