HOME squad Assumption Montessori School (AMS) and La Salle-Iligan drew first blood on Saturday’s opening of the 2017 National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) Mindanao Finals at the Xavier University gym in Cagayan de Oro City.

As the reigning champ AMS Jaguars of coach James Racines routed Butuan by over 20 points, the La Salle Warriors gallantly crawled back from 24-point third quarter deficit to overcome Bukidnon’s PCF Calibers, 70-68 to the crowd’s disbelief.

“Maskin kami dili makatuo nga modaug pa tungod sa kadako nga binat. Dili namo to malimtan nga kadaugan (We did not that we wil win due to the big difference. We will not forget this victory),” Iligan coach Gagang Lariosa told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.

The La Salle troika of Joshua Rey Dinglasa, Jo Miles Kent Lugo and Jericho Montecalvo each finished with 23, 15 and 10 points in orchestrating what could be the biggest comeback in the history of the NBTC-Developmental League.

Bukidnon got 18, 12 and 10 markers, respectively, from Allen Peligrino, Zaire Ladesma and Rey Morhe.

As of presstime, CdeO’s AMS Jaguars and Iligan’s La Salle Warriors were still locked in separate matches with Bukidnon and Butuan in a bid to secure the coveted final seats.

With the explosive threesome of most valuable player Milo Janao Jr., Rommel Calahat Jr. and Austin Rome Mutya at their forefront, the AMS Jaguars are confident to make another trip to the national arena of the NBTC-D League.