AICC Manila forges do-or-die finals vs San Juan in FilBasket

AICC Manila's Chris Bitoon celebrates during Game 2 of their best-of-three finals against San Juan in the FilBasket Subic Championship at the Subic gym Sunday.

AICC Manila outlasted San Juan, 74-70, to force a winner-take-all match for the FilBasket Subic Championship crown at the Subic Gym Monday.

The Manila dribblers got a big lift from Chris Bitoon and Hesed Gabo to bounce back from an 80-74 Game 1 defeat last Saturday and breathe life in their title bid.

Bitoon scored 13 points while Gabo chipped in 12 points for Manila, who saw their 67-50 lead get cut to single digits, 69-60, with 2:38 left.

Paolo Hernandez, Alvin abundo and Orlan Wamar led that San Juan assault and 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.