MPBL: Batangas City wins thriller at home versus Bacoor

Bob Guerrero on Aug 21, 2019 09:15 AM
MPBL: Batangas City wins thriller at home versus Bacoor
"Ang hirap noong down kami by 16 pero sinabi ni coach na ituloy lang Ang depensa at mga play natin." - Justin Melano (photo courtesy of the MPBL).

Batangueños experienced the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season at its best on Tuesday night when their team, the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay, came from behind late to snatch victory from the Bacoor Strikers, 68-67.

A large and boisterous crowd at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum spurred Rum City to victory despite being down by as much as 16. Mon Rogado's lay-up with 3.5 seconds left in the game gave Tanduay their first lead of the night. 

"Ang hirap noong down kami by 16 pero sinabi ni coach na ituloy lang Ang depensa at mga play natin," said Justin Melano, who was named best player of the game for his team-high 20 points and 13 boards.

Bacoor were controlling the tempo of a physical and at times ill-tempered contest, largely due to the inspired play of Michael Mabulac, who tallied 16 points.

With a minute to go in the third and Bacoor up 52-41, Striker Oping Sumalinog fouled out in unusual circumstances. He was called for a blocking foul, his fourth of the game. The former Blue Eagle protested the call and touched the referee while doing so, which is a technical foul under FIBA rules. That meant a fifth foul and an early shower for Sumalinog.

The Athletics clawed back in the fourth but found themselves down, 64-55, with five minutes to go after a jumper from Bacoor's Mike Ayonayon.

Then the big guns of Batangas took over. Melano and Jeff Viernes both rifled in triples before Rogado's game-winner sealed a memorable home win. Batangas ended up scoring 11 of the last 14 points.

The win catapults Batangas to above .500 on 4-3 while Bacoor lose for only the third time in 11 games.

There was another nervy finish in the early evening match-up when Imus Bandera Khaleb Shawarma GLC Trucks and Equipment narrowly defeated Nueva Ecija ForestLake, 75-73, in a see-saw encounter.

Three free throws in the last minute by Jayjay Helterbrand gave Khaleb Shawarma a 75-70 cushion. Nueva Ecija could have pulled to within three when Jimbo Aquino was tagged while shooting a triple, but he could only manage to hit one of the three attempts from the line. Aquino made a late lay-up as time expired for the final score.

Helterbrand scored 11 points, but former UE Red Warrior James Martinez was Imus' talisman with 12 points. Gerald Anderson had a fair day with 6 points and a pair of assists for Imus. Aquino had the most output for Nueva Ecija with 16. Imus improves to 3-6 while the Ecijanos drop to 2-7.

In the afternoon encounter, Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic gored Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines 113-94 with an awesome display of firepower from start to finish.

Gab Danganon led Basilan with 20 points, followed by Arvie Bringas with 19. Hesed Gabo dished out 13 dimes for the Steel.

Basilan fired on all cylinders to take a 63-45 lead at the half against a turnover-prone Navotas side. Chris Dumapig's 13 points led Basilan at that point, who shot over 70 percent from two-point range in the first 20 minutes. Basilan's total was two shy of the league record for most number of points in a half by one side.

Early in the third quarter Basilan kept up with their relentless offense, unspooling a 13-2 run spiked by back-to-back-to-back buckets from Danganon to open up an 80-51 lead. Navotas then showed a pulse with an 11-0 run to pull to 85-68 at the end of the third.

But three quick baskets from Bringas and a three-ball from Danganon gave the stea a 94-73 lead, quelling the insurrection from the Navoteños for good. Basilan ended up shooting 60 percent from the field. Elmer Cabahug led Navotas with 13 points.

Navotas suffers a fourth loss in a row to plummet to 2-6 while the Mindanaoans surge to 7-4

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