Wilson deals hurt on Voyagers; Giant Lanterns also score
It wasn’t the start that John Wilson had envisioned for himself and for the top seed San Juan Knights. Stifled by Pasay’s defense, Wilson was scoreless in the first three periods while the Knights played catch-up against the underdogs who hardly looked like the eighth seeds in the North division of the MPBL Lakan Season playoffs.
Taking his defensive intensity up a notch, Wilson found his rhythm on the other end late as the Knights turned back the Voyagers, 75-74, to move on the cusp of a projected second round meeting with the Pampanga Giant Lanterns.
“I can’t score so I focused my energy on defense,” said Wilson, the MVP frontrunner who eventually ended up with 11 points.
One particular play in the final period got Wilson going. Guarding JP Belencion on the low block, Wilson swiped the ball from the Pasay swingman leading to an out of bounds violation.
That set off a string of clutch baskets from Wilson who broke the game’s final deadlock at 71-all with a triple with 1:31 remaining.
“I think I got my confidence after that stop on Belencion,” Wilson said. “This game was a lesson for us. We got too eager. Our record (26-4) won’t mean anything if we lost this game. We would have been in a tough spot.”
Fourth seed Pampanga also took the lead in their series with Bataan after hacking out a wire-to-wire 71-64 victory earlier.
The Giant Lanterns scored the first 17 points and led by as many as 30 only to allow the Risers to pull within 58-64 heading into the final six minutes.
Levi Hernandez and Mark Cruz came through with big shots down the stretch to hold off the Risers, who face elimination as the series shifts to Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga. INQ