ARGAO, CEBU - The Graviton Goblins clinched a historic championship after barely edging Freesia Phantoms, 92-89, in a classic do-or-die game in the PSHS CVisC Director's Cup on Sunday at the CVisC Coliseum.
Armand Benabaye posted 29 points and 8 boards while comrade Kharl Miranda missed out on a triple-double with 20 points, 16 rebounds and 9 dimes in a tremendous showing in a high-pressure championship game.
Kyn Trongcao added 11 points while Benabaye’s fellow ‘Big Three’ members each scored 10.
Freesia was led by Best Player of the Conference Ricardo Guinto, who was hobbled with an ankle injury but came alive to score 19 of his 23 points in the second half, and Sergio Mayol, who scored 21.
Graviton led by five points, 43-38, at the half with Benabaye scoring 14 points over the first two periods.
The Goblins then started the third with a 14-6 run that opened up a 57-44 lead before pushing the advantage up to a whopping 16 points, 69-53, later in the period.
But the hobbling Guinto finally got his game going. After scoring just 4 points in the first half, he scored 11 in the third quarter, including 9 in a 17-4 Freesia run as the Phantoms attacked the basket and crashed the boards late.
They cut the Graviton advantage to just three, 73-70, at the end of the third.
Rain or Shine backup Mikko Yangson scored on a layup at the top of the final period to bring the Phantoms to as close as a single point, 73-72.
But Benabaye came to the rescue for Graviton, hitting on a putback and a three-pointer to spark a 9-2 run that put the Goblins up by a more comfortable eight points, 82-74, with 7:10 remaining.
But the Phantoms were not yet done, Sean La Torre and Guinto led Freesia as they got their running game going yet again, coming to within three, 90-87, at the last two minute mark of the contest.
Benabaye then hit a one-handed bank shot that Guinto quickly countered on the other end.
But the final 1:30 of the game saw neither team score a basket as Graviton clinched the elusive crown.
Guinto had a chance to send the game into overtime at the end but could not make his final shot.
The scores: GRAVITON (92) – Benabaye 29, Miranda 20, Trongcao 11, Paler 10, Llemit 10, Tan 6, Asok 4, Ramonida 2, Limbaroc 0. FREESIA (89) – Guinto 23, La Torre 21, Mayol 11, Daclan 11, Olmella 7, Yu 6, Jeonzon 4, Yangson 4, Pitogo 2.
Quarterscores: 23-16, 43-38, 73-70, 92-89