In the Starters Division, it was a battle for positioning between Kabayan Express and Al Atkal Frenc wherein the winner will have a chance to take the 3rd seed. Thus avoiding an early match with top seed, Gulf Dental. As the match went on its way, Kabayan Express quickly stepped on the gas as the thunder and lightning duo of Rafael Coronel and Jasper Bay took every opportunity in transition to keep Al Atkal trailing by 7 at the half, 35-28.
In the second half, it was Al Atkal’s turn to pressure their opponents as Mark Mabilangan and Bonzee Valdez forced Kabayan Express to commit numerous turnovers that paved the way for Al Atkal to convert a 7-point deficit to an 8-point lead through the timely baskets and dimes of Jomar Gamgam early in the 4th quarter. With 3 minutes remaining in the game and Al Atkal still leading by 8, Kabayan Express fired a couple of treys to narrow the gap to 2. A series of free throw misses by Al Atkal proved to be costly as they kept hold on a 2 point lead with seven seconds remaining in the game as Kabayan Express prepared to inbound the ball in the baseline which resulted to a perfectly executed backdoor basket by Rafael Coronel that sent the game to overtime.
The overtime period saw Kabayan Express lose steam as they find themselves down by 10 with 1:18 remaining. A couple of free throws by Charly Antiporta plus a converted and 1 play by Rafael Coronel brought Kabayan Express within 5. Al Atkal tried to use the clock in the ensuing play but failed to score as they commit a foul during the rebound action that sent Coronel to the stripe who made the first FT and scored on a put back from his missed second charity as Al Atkal holds on to a 2 point lead with only 12.5 seconds remaining. Al Atkal’s Mark Mabilangan was then fouled in the inbound play and sent to the stripe but missed both charities. Yraphil Bacay got the rebound, passed it to Jason Padilla who then set Erivan Tan for the game-winning corner three. Rafael Coronel was chosen as the Best Player of the Game who had a game high 22 pts., Ryan Nolasco took the Defensive Player of the game honors, while Al Atkal’s Filjohn Garrido topscored for their squad with 13 markers.