BACOOR CITY — Despite missing reigning MVP Gab Banal, second-ranked Bacoor still delivered in front of its home fans, outlasting third seed Basilan-Jumbo Plastic, 80-69, to force a Game Three in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South semifinals at the Strike Gymnasium here, Thursday.
Ian Melencio spearheaded the Strikers with 17 points and four steals. Banal did not suit up due to a sprained left MCL.
Bacoor was in control in the first three quarters, even seeing its lead balloon to 27, 37-10.
But the Steel had one last card in their hands, unleashing a 25-10 blast in the payoff period to cut a 22-point hole to just seven, 76-69, with 1:21 left. However, it was too little, too late as Bacoor ran away with the victory.
“Their press kind of rattled us, but I think ‘yung preparation namin worked for the first three quarters,” said Bacoor coach Chris Gavina.
Michael Mabulac posted a double-double of 14 points and 19 rebounds. Mark Montuano chipped in 15 markers and seven boards.
Meanwhile, Mark Pangilinan was also solid with 10 points built on two treys.
Gavina had unusual starters tonight, with Eric Acuña, Nick Demusis, Pangilinan, Montuano and King Destacamento. The reason?
“I really just liked ‘yung energy nila noong Game One saka noong practice. At this point, I feel like energy can propel us to success,” he shared.
On the other hand, Jonathan Uyloan dropped a season-high 15 points, all from behind the arc. Allyn Bulanadi had 16 markers on 17 shots.
The do-or-die Game Three is on Saturday, March 7, at the same Cavite venue.
Bacoor City 80 — Melencio 17, Montuano 15, Mabulac 14, Pangilinan 10, Ramirez 8, Destacamento 6, Cañete 5, Sumalinog 3, Demusis 2, Acuña 0, Andaya 0.
Basilan-Jumbo Plastic 69 — Bulanadi 16, Uyloan 15, Dumapig 11, Palencia 7, Manalang 5, Collado 4, Bautista 4, Bringas 4, Gabo 2, Daa 1, Sorela 0, Dagangon 0, Hallare 0.
Quarterscores: 20-6, 43-21, 66-44, 80-69.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Nicks Hernandez