VALENZUELA rode on the trio of John Tayongtong, Dan Natividad and Josiah Esplana to subdue Quezon City, 111-102, and advance to North Division finals in the Metro League Open basketball championship at the San Andres gym in Manila.
Tayongtong played a solid all-around game for Workhorses, finishing with 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting, and five rebounds and four assists in the tournament organized by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and supported by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Natividad had 22 points six rebounds and six assists and Esplana had 17 points for Valenzuela, which outscored Quezon City, 32-21, in the third period to turn the game around.
The coach Gerry Esplana-mentored Workhorses led 84-67 entering the final period and kept the Junior Capitals at bay the rest of the way.
John Carl Melegrito finished with a game-high 33 points and six rebounds while Jefferson Comia had 29 points and eight rebounds for the Junior Capitals.
Valenzuela, however, will have to wait for its North Division championship opponent.
Caloocan surprised top seed Manila, 91-76, behind the combined efforts of McArthur Enriquez, Nico Principe, Aevin Coquia to forge a sudden death match for the finals berth.
Enriquez had 21 points, Principe added 19 points and seven assists and Coquia contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Supremos of coach Rensy Bajar.
As No. 4, Caloocan needed to beat Manila twice to make it to the finals.
Mark Yu paced the All Stars with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Paolo Quiminales had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Ex-PBA star Joseph Yeo was limited to only 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting but added four assists and four rebounds.
The 10-team tournament also has Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance, Frabelle Foods, Summit Mineral Water, Alco Plus, Gerry’s Grill, Excellent Noodles, glitter.ph, SM Supermalls and Nature’s Spring as the major sponsors.
Valenzuela (111) --Tayongtong 29, Natividad 22, Esplana 17, Pascua 11, Rivera 11, Ruaya 7, Kalaw 6, Chua 6, Gamboa 2, Sta. Maria 0, Espinosa 0
Quezon City (102) --Melegrito 33, Comia 29, Estoce Jr. 11, Tabi 9, Senal 8, Abarcar 6, Asuncion 4, Macaballug 2, Udjan 0, Riva 0
Quarterscores: 27-27, 52-46, 84-67, 111-102
Caloocan (91) --Enriquez 21, Principe 19, Coquia 18, Sombero 8, De Mesa 7, Ligon 6, Torrado 6, Bauzon 4, Perez 2, Pacheco 0, Tamayo 0
Manila (76) --Yu 17, Quiminales 15, Yeo 11, Manalo 9, Orquina 8, Matignas 7, Tubera 2, Luke 2, Martinez 2, Cruz 2, Acibar 1, Tan 0.
Quarterscores: 31-22, 50-41, 79-59, 91-76