HOST team Davao-Go-Duterte Eagles survived a series of deadlocks and lead changes in the final period to upset defending champion University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 102-97, in the opener of the 33rd Kadayawan sa Dabaw Invitational Basketball Tournament at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center Thursday evening.
Trailing 85-86 with only five minutes and 31 seconds to go, the Eagles
recovered with baskets from Joshua Aguilon, James Linares and Brian Mago for Davao to grab a 94-91 lead despite the heroics of UST's CJ Cansino and Marvin Lee who tried to close the gap.
But Miguel Solitaria-coached Eagles then tightened defense, foiling the Growling Tigers's attempts to shoot and breaking away with Mago's three-pointer to take a 100-95 advantage.
Cansino drilled the last basket for UST that succumbed to costly turnover while the Eagles went on to wrap up the match.
Solitaria, in an interview with SunStar Davao after the game, said there was quite familiarity playing against the team of Coach Aldin Ayo whom he assisted while the latter mentored the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers before.
Davao, leading as much as 15 points earlier in the game, lost steam in the third with players getting into foul trouble and allowing UST to convert penalty baskets.
“There are a lot of adjustments na ginawa ni Coach Aldin. We also made more adjustments in the game. Mabuti nalang well incorporated mga players sa mga adjustments namin,” Solitaria said.
Linares sank 15 points to lead the Eagles while Landy Sanjo and Glenn Manlangit made identical 14. Shooster Olago and Mahloney chipped in 13 each.
UST's Lee scored game-high 33 as Cansino had 25.
In the second game, the National University (NU) Bulldogs clobbered University of Cebu (UC), 86-77.
UST was playing UC as of Friday followed by the clash between Davao and NU.
Solitaria said, “Against NU we don't know what to expect.”
NU head coach Jamike Jiran said Davao is a well-coached team.
“We need to secure the rebounds that's the first thing. That's their (Davao) advantage because they have Olago and Sanjo. That's the main concern of our team right now, stopping Olago and Sanjo from dominating inside,” Jiran said, adding that they will just take each game at a time although hoping that they get to play for the championship.
Cash prizes, courtesy of the city government of Davao, are at stake in the tournament sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.