SUBIC — Mike Ayonayon was a full-on scorer on Wednesday. The next day, he became more of a facilitator.
And the latter worked just fine — better, even — as San Juan-Go for Gold took down Davao Occidental-Cocolife, 70-65, to even their Chooks-to-Go MPBL National Finals series at one game each at the Subic Bay Gymnasium here.
In Game One’s 75-77 overtime loss to the Tigers, the PBA loanee collected a game-high 27 points with five assists against five turnovers.
During Game Two, Ayonayon’s scoring went down to just 15, but he dished out nine assists and only committed three turnovers. His also made his defense felt with two steals and two blocks.
“Kasi nakita namin sa viewing namin na ‘yung corner namin, nao-open kapag umaatake ako. Kaya sinabi ng coaches na palaging open ‘yung corner guy namin,” said the Datu Cup Finals MVP.
Head coach Randy Alcantara and his staff acknowledged they’d failed to take advantage of that hole in the first game.
This time, they didn’t repeat that mistake, instead pounding Davao with beautiful ball movement. That paved the way for 21 assists, while their counterparts only had 12.
“Ipinakita talaga ng coaches sa players na ang pagkakamali namin nung Game One eh, kailangan makita nila at maisapuso nila. Kung hahayaan lang namin sila, mahihirapan kami makarecover,” said Alcantara.
The veteran mentor also said his team has several weapons they can choose from, not needing all the points to come from Ayonayon.
“Sabi nga namin, hindi kami mananalo kung Mike Ayonayon lang, gagawa ng trenta pero talo tayo. Nag-respond naman sila doon,” continued the youthful tactician.
But when the situation needed Ayonayon to score, he delivered the goods.
Knotted at 52-all at the early part of the payoff period, the Knights got eight unanswered points. That included six from the 29-year-old, with an alley-oop highlight off Orlan Wamar’s inbound.
The 6-foot combo guard also had additional motivation coming into Game Two.
His last shot, a drive to the basket, to force a second overtime in Game One was swatted by Billy Robles to give Davao the win.
“Talagang naaasar din ako sa game na ‘yun kasi kumbaga, dapat pwede ko na sanang i-pull up jumper kaso nag-take ako ng high-percentage shot. Kaso na-block.”