Manila five forces do-or-die Game 3

AICC Manila outlasted San Juan City’s late surge to post a 74-70 victory and forge a winner-take-all match for the FilBasket title at the Subic gym on Sunday.

Still reeling from an 80-74 Game One defeat in their best-of-three championship affair Saturday, the Manila dribblers got back into business with Chris Bitoon and Hesed Gabo leading the assault.

Bitoon finished with 13 points while Gabo chipped in 12 points for Manila, who led by as many as 17 points, 67-50, in the last 5:54 of the game.

But San Juan refused to give up the fight and drained eight straight points led by Paolo Hernandez, Alvin Abundo and Orlan Wamar to cut the deficit to nine, 69-60, with 2:38 left.

The Knights even came close in the last 1:40 after Rhenz Abando’s triple to trail 70-65, but the Manila dribblers protected their lead for good as San Juan ran out of time.

Manila and San Juan go for all the marbles Monday night for the inaugural title.

Jessie James Collado also contributed 11 points and six rebounds for Manila, while Michael Mabulac added 10 boards on top of seven points.

Abando and Adrian Nocum were the only double-digit scorers for San Juan with 16 and 11 points.

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