PAMPANGA teams Royce Hotel and G Lanterns sprung big surprises against tournament favorites Monday night to move within a win of the Manila Bankers Life-Pilipinas Super League Pro Division Second Conference Dumper Cup finals.
Joshua Flores scored 19 points and grabbed two rebounds as Pampanga Royce crushed defending champion Davao Occidental-Cocolife, 98-74, in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals battle at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Jolo Mendoza chipped in 15 points spiked by four three-pointers, while Allen Liwag and Will Gozum added 12 and 10 points, respectively for Pampanga Royce, which could finish off the bewildered Tigers in Game 2 Wednesday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The G Lanterns, on the other hand, trounced erstwhile unbeaten San Juan, 93-83, in their own semifinal.
Game 3s, if necessary, will be played on Friday.
Six-foot-9 Justine Baltazar wound up with a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds with four assists to lead the G Lanterns, while Louie Sangalang added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Archie Concepcion and Michael Galicia also had 12 and 11, respectively for the G Lanterns in the meet presented by Dumper party-list, Winzir, and Skin Care Depot, co-presented by SCD Cosmetics, and supported by NET 25, Adcon, Wcube Solutions Inc., MDC, Unisol, Don Benitos, and Finn Cotton, with Philippine Basketball Association and Gilas Pilipinas great Marc Pingris serving as commissioner.