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PH-Mighty Sports through to Merlion Cup finals after escaping Singapore Slingers - Sep 25, 2016

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Philippines-Mighty Sports pulled off a tough 72-70 semifinal victory over hometown team Singapore Slingers to advance to the Merlion Cup finals on Saturday at the OCBC Arena in the city-state. Dewarick Spencer (193-G-82, college: Arkansas St., agency: Higher Vision Sports) fired 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to pump life into Mighty Sports which, after a strong start, trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Filipino guards Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93) and Joseph Yeo (183-G-83) also combined for five crucial points down the stretch that gave the Philippine club the lead for good. PH-Mighty Sports will take on the Shanghai Sharks led by former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) for the title on Sunday in a matchup between the tournament's two unbeaten teams. PH-Mighty Sports started the game on a hot 7-0 run powered by slam dunks from Hamady N'diaye (212-C-87, college: Rutgers).. They finished the first quarter with a 21-15 lead. But the Slingers put the clamps on PH-Mighty Sports, limiting the Filipino club to just 12 points in the second quarter. The Slingers took a 36-33 at the break which they expanded to nine points, 44-35, in the early goings of the third frame. But just as the Slingers were about to pull away, Spencer woke PH-Mighty Sports up. He suddenly waxed hot on the floor, burying three triples and converting tough baskets to score 17 of the team's first 18 points in the third quarter. Yeo then scored a layup to complete the turnaround for PH-Mighty Sports which took a 53-46 lead. But the Slingers made their way back and trimmed their deficit to just two, 56-54, heading into the last quarter. It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth period, with the teams exchanging leads. Big man Justin Howard gave the Slingers a 68-67 lead with just a minute left after shooting a surprise three-pointer off an awkward release. But Ravena countered it with a reverse layup. After a miss by the Slingers, Yeo then pulled up for a triple to push PH-Mighty Sports' lead to four, 72-68, with 36 seconds left. But the Slingers converted two free throws in the next play. Spencer then made a huge blunder in the inbound for a huge turnover that gave the Slingers a chance to take the last shot with just nine ticks left. However, the Slingers' Filipino import Jeff Viernes was called for steps in his drive to the basket, allowing PH-Mighty Sports to escape with the victory.
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