San Juan used its firepower to the hilt to whip Mandaluyong, 76-60, to officially oust the El Tigre in the running for the playoff berth in the MPBL Datu Cup at the San Andres Gym.
The Knights maximized their advantage in talent and gave the El Tigre a sound beating.
San Juan jumped the gun early on Mandaluyong, taking a commanding 28-7 lead in the first period. The Knights padded the lead to as many as 36 points, 65-29, to practically take the fight out of their rivals.
John Wilson hit 11 of his 16 points in the opening period before the rest of the cast took over. Larry Rodriguez added 13 and Mike Ayonayon had 10 for San Juan, which produced 37 points off the bench compared to only 22 for Mandaluyong.
San Juan improved its win-loss record to 19-5 and will try to wrap up its elimination round campaign with a win against Valenzuela in its final game before the playoffs.
Its latest win also eliminated Mandaluyong out of the race as the El Tigre fell to 8-15 and at 11th spot of the tough northern division put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
This was formalized when Navotas pulled off an upset win over home team Manila, 96-92, in the second game of the scheduled double header of this tournament also supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.
Using a small ball combination in Jai Reyes and Donald Gumaru, the Clutch turned things around late in the third quarter.
The Clutch trailed by as many as 12 points, but got back in the game behind the scoring spree of Reyes, who exploded for 33 points, including 14 in the third period.
Reyes played like an All-Star all game long, but Gumaru, an unheralded player, got the job done in the endgame. He was able to make some stops, including a huge steal in the closing seconds of the game and capped his heist with a transition basket.
“I think the turning point happened when I went small,” Navotas coach Gabby Severino told FOX PH. “I put in another small so we can run with them.”
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.