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Sports Scribes, Solar Boys cop semis bonus in PSA Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The Capital1 Solar Boys and Smart Sports Scribes formally clinched the coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs after winning their respective matches in the 2024 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Tuesday, April 2.

The Solar Boys showed no rust after the tournament’s two-week break and delivered in the clutch for a 68-61 win over Say Chiz Smileys, while the Smarts Sports Scribes fended off Strong Group Athletics to claim a 78-72 victory.

Capital1 and Smart now have identical 4-1 records heading into the final stretch of the tournament that is one of the projects of PSA President Nelson Beltran of the Philippine Star.

Clinging onto a 65-61 lead in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter, Aldo Aviñante and Jonash Dannug of Tiebreaker Times drained three out of four free throws to ice the game and seal the victory for the squad backed by Mandy and Milka Romero, Bulakan Mayor Vergel Meneses, Uratex and Rebel Sports. 

John Bryan Ulanday of The STAR spearheaded Capital1 with 16 points and six rebounds while Aviñante dropped 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Christian Jacinto had another double-double output with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Delfin Dioquino and Mark Montejo had six points apiece but also collared 17 and 15 rebounds, respectively.

In the first game, the Sports Scribes clamped down on the defensive end to overcome a slow start. After trailing 39-47 at the break, Smart limited SGA to just five points in the third to turn the tables around.

AJ Bolando and Jan Ballasteros then put on the finishing touches, knocking down crucial free throws late in the fourth quarter to seal the Sports Scribes' crucial win.

Bolando erupted for 39 points, four rebounds and seven assists while Reuben Terrado of had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Danny Espiritu, Headstart Sports Academy and BaliPure-back team.

Eugene Flores of One Sports paced the Press Row Bros with 33 points while Diego dela Paz posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

Action resumes next week with Capital 1 and Smart battling for the top seed in the 8 p.m. affair and SGA tackling Say