CEBU

Davao Occidental just a win away from MPBL title

SUBIC. Cebuano guard Emman Calo celebrates as the Davao Occidental Tigers moved a win away from capturing the MPBL Lakan championship. (MPBL)

THE Davao Occidental-Cocolife Tigers are now just a win away from capturing the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan title after they held off the San Juan-Go For Gold Knights, 66-58, in Game Three of the national finals on Saturday, March 20, 2021, at the Subic Bay Gymnasium.

Davao Occidental held an 11-point lead, 56-45, in the fourth but San Juan tallied eight straight points to pull to within three, 53-56. However, the Tigers did not flinch as back-to-back threes from Joseph Terso and Kenneth Mocon steadied the ship for the Tigers with 3:29 left, 62-53.

"Our defense came through. We gave only 58 points and if we can play defense like this, we have a big chance," relayed Davao head coach Don Dulay.

Down 27-41 entering the second half, the Knights went on an 11-1 blitz capped off by three straight three-pointers from Mike Ayonayon to trim their deficit to just three, 39-42. But Bonbon Custodio came in for the Tigers to restore order, going on a personal 8-1 rally to push their lead back to double digits, 50-40 with 1:39 left in the quarter.

Billy Robles led Davao Occidental with 13 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists, and a steal. Also coming through was Mocon with 11 markers while Custodio chipped in 10, all from the second half.

Ayonayon led the Knights anew with 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists but with three turnovers.

John Wilson unloaded 12 markers and nine boards but went a measly 4-of-15 from the field.


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