Quezon storms back vs Nueva Ecija in Game 4 to seize PSL crown

Quezon storms back vs Nueva Ecija in Game 4 to seize PSL crown
Quezon's Provincial Governor Angelina Tan receives the championship trophy from PSL President Cris Bautista and special assistant to the chief executive officer Bhong Baribar as the rest of the Titans celebrate their victory in Game 4.

LUCENA CITY – All series long, Judel Fuentes has become the source of production in offense for the Quezon Titans and in Game 4, he capped his good showing by playing yet another crucial role.

Fuentes provided the spark just when Nueva Ecija was about to pull away and that turned out to be the game-changer for the Titans, who completed a come-from-behind 77-64 victory and ended the best-of-five championship series in the PSL President’s Cup right in front of their hometown crowd at the packed Quezon Convention Center.     

The series ended at 3-1 with Quezon winning the last three games.

But the Titans had to grind it out to make sure the series won’t return to a Game 5 to be played on enemy’s territory.

With the Titans  trailing by 10, 37-47, midway the third period, Fuentes completed a four-point play off a foul from Eman Calo and that turned out to be a momentum shifter for Quezon, which willed its way back into the game.

With its offense started to click, Quezon then turned to its defense, holding Nueva Ecija without a field goal in the next four minutes as Fuentes and Jason Opiso combined forces in a telling 21-3 exchange that enabled the home team to grab a 58-50 lead with still 1:22 left in the third quarter.

Defense set the tone for the Titans, whose offense started to pick up when it mattered the most.

They hit their next four field goals in the fourth period, all coming from beyond the arc, to finally take away the fight out of the undermanned, but equally determined Nueva Ecija side.

“First time kong manalo ng championship sa professional level,” said Fuentes, whose last title came when he was still playing in college for Centro Escolar University when the team had an unbeaten run in the NCRAA four years ago.

All in all, Quezon hit 14 three-point shots led by Fuentes, who had four.

In three of the four games that Quezon played, he had at least four treys made as he affirmed his role as the team’s top gun.

Opiso stepped up big coming off the bench and produced 12 to make up for the sub-par game of Will Gozum, who only had five markers in the game.

Ximone Sandagon, playing with a fractured cheekbone and protected by a mask, contributed nine markers, the same output produced by Robin Roño, who proved to be essential in his duel with Michael Juico.

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