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Realtors firm up hold of second

ANTIPOLO CITY -- Anthony Johnson had PBA career-high numbers -- 43 points and 21 rebounds -- as Sta. Lucia Realty defeated Barako Bull in their initial tiff in the tourney 100-91 last March 13.

Johnson didn't need to muster the same effort for the Realtors to repeat versus the Energy Boosters.

The Realtors pulled one big game together as they kept their mastery of the Energy Boosters, fashioning out a 98-88 victory to firm up their hold of second place in the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference at the Ynares Sports Center here Sunday night.

So dominant were the Realtors that they gave coach Boyet Fernandez the luxury of using third-string players Dennis Daa, Chito Jaime and Melvin Mamaclay.

The Realtors played with so much firepower, leading by as many as 20 points before eventually notching a sixth win against three losses.

Anthony Johnson came through with 29 points and 19 rebounds with Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes, Nelbert Omolon and Joseph Yeo adding at least 12 points each as the Realtors repeated over Energy Boosters to make it 4-0 in their head-on duels this season.

"We're at second place, but to be honest, I'm not yet thinking of (finishing in) the top two. We have tough assignments ahead. We'll take it one game at a time," said Fernandez.

Sta. Lucia's last five games are Purefoods (twice), Coca-Cola, San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra.

"Hindi biro-biro ang last five games namin. I'm thankful we're taking another long break before getting back into action, playing Purefoods on May 1," said Fernandez.

Sustaining the momentum of their second-half efforts against Talk ‘N Text Wednesday, the Realtors established control early against the Energy Boosters and practically ran a show in dominating the final 24 minutes of play.

Johnson and Williams showcased highlight plays on good passes by Reyes.

Curiously, Johnson showed up the player -- Jeff Varem -- who replaced him as Coca-Cola import in the same tourney in 2007.

Varem was good for only 24 points and 12 rebounds as Barako Bull suffered a seventh loss in nine outings.

The Realtors established control early with an aggressive game, driving hard to the basket to draw more fouls and get more trips to the line.

Sta. Lucia outscored Barako Bull, 12-3, on free throws in the opening half which in its favor at 50-37.

Reyes and Johnson combined for 23 points in the first two quarters with Nelbert Omolon adding nine points coming off the bench. (NC)

The scores:

Sta. Lucia 98 -- Johnson 29, Williams 15, Reyes 14, Omolon 13, Yeo 12, Aquino 6, Miranda 3, Espino 3, Mendoza 3, Jaime 0, Mamaclay 0, Daa 0, Gonzales 0.

Barako Bull 88 -- Varem 24, Najorda 13, Duncil 10, Sharma 8, Holper 6, Ybanez 6, Espinas 4, Chan 3, Hubalde 2, Rodriguez 0, Hrabak 0, Arigo 0.

Quarterscores: 27-24, 50-37, 72-58, 98-88

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