MPBL South king Davao edges out Zambo in opening day thriller

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 12, 2019 11:29 PM
Davao edges out Zambo in opening day thriller
Chester Saldua was at the right place, at the right time to win the game for Davao Occidental

Davao Occidental took Zamboanga's best shot before taking a thrilling 84-82 triumph in the opening night of the MPBL Lakan Cup, Wednesday at MOA Arena.

The Tigers, kings of the South Division and runners-up overall last season, remained intact, but at the same time, got much welcome contributions from new guys Chester Saldua, Marco Balagtas, and Yvan Ludovice. "Balagtas, Saldua, they're fighters. They understand what I want and it's just them understanding each other at this point," head coach Don Dulay said post-game.

Saldua made quite the first impression for his new team by topping the scoring column with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists while Balagtas and Ludovice also added 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

It was also Saldua who broke the hearts of Zambo with what proved to be the game-winner that laid to waste what was supposed to be a big defensive stop by Harold Arboleda in the endgame.

With less than a minute left and the tally tied at 82-all, Arboleda closed the door on Mark Yee, but Saldua was at the right place, at the right time for Davao Occidental and made good on a follow up right before shot clock expired.

Up by two with just 23.4 ticks to go, all the Tigers needed was a defensive stop to seal the deal and got just that in Billy Ray Robles' block on Med Salim's venture inside.

Zamboanga still had two tries to win the game, but Raffy Reyes muffed on two triples.

In the end, Robles had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and the block that finished off the Tigers' season-opening win. "They gave us a good fight. Looks like we have a lot to work on," Dulay said.

For Zambo, Arboleda waxed hot with 24 points on top of 10 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals while Leo De Vera brought the backup with 15 markers of his own.

BOX SCORES

DAVAO OCCIDENTAL 84 -- Saldua 15, Robles 14, Balagtas 12, Ludovice 11, Calo 8, Albo 8, Terso 7, Custodio 4, Raymundo 3, Yee 2, Forrester 0, Mocon 0.

ZAMBOANGA 82 -- Arboleda 24, De Vera 15, Salim 12, Reyes 11, Juntilla 10, Nalos 6, Cudal 2, Costelo 2, Santos 0, Rono 0, Jumao-as 0, Ignacio 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 20-17, 32-36, 58-52, 84-82.

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