MPBL: Late Ayonayon barrage rescues San Juan in OT win over Bataan

Bob Guerrero on Jul 28, 2019 09:56 AM
 MPBL: San Juan stays perfect with Ayonayon explosion
"Sobrang pangit ang laro ko noong first half. So pinaninindigan ko lang mga tira ko, bahala na. Eh sakto, na-shoot." - Mike Ayonayon (FILE PHOTO)

San Juan Go For Gold proved they have the heart of a champion by coming from behind late to beat the Bataan Risers, 87-79, in overtime in Saturday's Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season play date.

The crowd at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City was treated to a clutch performance by San Juan's Mike Ayonayon, who caught fire late, sealing the victory and keeping their slate spotless at 7-0.

"Sobrang pangit ang laro ko noong first half. So pinaninindigan ko lang mga tira ko, bahala na. Eh sakto, na-shoot," said the former PCU Dolphin, who finished with 18 points, 15 in the second half and OT.

San Juan took a 34-32 halftime lead thanks in large part to John Wilson's 14 first-half points. The former NCAA MVP nailed half of his eight three-point attempts. Wilson led all scorers with 22 points.

Bataan started the third with an 8-0 run to seize the initiative and finished the period 53-46 up with the help of CJ Isit and Jai Reyes. A triple by Reyes and then a bucket by Mar Villahermosa put the Risers up 72-61 with just over two minutes left and San Juan's immaculate record looked in jeopardy.

However, Ayonayon answered the call with two triples and nine points in the end of regulation, none bigger than a baseline jumper to knot the game at 72-72 with 3.5 ticks and send the game into an extension.

San Juan spotted Bataan a 75-72 lead then bossed overtime with big baskets from Ayonayon and Jhonard Clarito.

Meanwhile the Risers wilted in the face of the champs' stifling defense, committing several costly turnovers. Bataan slumps to 3-4. The Risers missed the services of offensive machine Alvin Pasaol, who was unavailable for the game.

In the featured game the Iloilo United Royals spoiled the home debut of the Bicol Volcanoes LCC Malls by hanging on for a 77-74 victory. Richard Escoto starred for the Ilonggos, getting best player of the game honors with 21 points.

Bicol started jittery and hesitant in front of their home fans, shooting just two  of 20 from the field in the first quarter to fall behind 19-11 after ten minutes.

There was more bad news early in the second period when Volcanoes talisman Ronjay Buenafe was called for a third foul while going for a jumper. The early foul trouble meant Buenafe's minutes were curtailed and he never got in sync. The Camarines Sur native missed all nine of his attempts from the field and was a non-factor, his 10 points all coming from the stripe.

With 1:28 to go in the half and up 37-29, Royals guard JR Parker was observed striking Volcano Leo Blanca in the face. Parker was called for a disqualifying foul and his Bicol adventure came to a premature end.

The visitors took a 44-33 lead into the locker room, with Cedric De Joya pumping in 11 of his 12 points.

Key baskets from Jonathan Aldave and Alwyn Alday cut the lead to six, 60-54 in the end of the third. LCC Malls continued to chip away at the lead in the payoff period, and an Aldave triple with 48 seconds left brought them within one, 75-74.

With 15 seconds left and up 76-74 Richard Escoto had two charities to ice the game. He flubbed both but with no timeouts to call Bicol ran a poor play, with Raffy Gusi missing a wild attempt then getting called for a kick ball. A Samboy de Leon free throw iced the contest for the Royals, sending the big Bicolano crowd home disappointed.

Iloilo wins despite shooting 37 percent from the field, two percentage points better than their foes.

Bicol's topscorer was Aldave with 18. Iloilo improves to 4-3 while Bicol's four-game win streak is history and their slate is now 5-3.

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