LAMITAN CITY — The veteran in Bonbon Custodio comes out in trying times.
Down by nine entering the payoff period of Game Two in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South Division Finals, third-ranked Basilan then rode the hot hands of Jhaps Bautista on a 14-1 run. Fueled by four treys and an assist to Jay Collado, it regained the advantage, 69-65, with 4:31 left.
Then Custodio came to the rescue when top seed Davao Occidental seemed to lose their bearings.
“Hindi kami pwedeng mag-dwell sa thought na nakalamang na sila ulit eh. Balik lang sa sistema, kaya nakabawi kami,” said the 37-year-old veteran.
In a span of 25 seconds, the 5-foot-11 scoring guard went coast-to-coast on two straight possessions to knot the game at 69-all with 3:18 left on the clock.
But that was not his biggest shot of the game.
Up by just a solitary point 52.6 seconds remaining, the University of the East product forced a switch. He then took an isolation play against Collado, with the former swiftly draining a bank shot in front of the burly center to give his side the lead for good, 79-76.
“It’s always good to have Bonbon because he is a veteran, he is so used to these moments. He doesn’t crumble easily. We could have folded, but put the ball in Bonbon’s hands, good things are gonna happen,” said Tigers head coach Don Dulay.
The 12-year pro posted eight points, six coming in the fourth quarter, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block, and a game-high plus-16.
Custodio is glad that he has reliable teammates who can spark the team in an instant, just like seldom-used Richard Albo, who finished with 14 points on 5-of-8 clip.
“Hindi naman kasi araw-araw maganda laro ng lahat ng players, kaya ngayon si Albo, maganda ang ipinakita, may opportunity siya kaya kinuha niya talaga.”
The rubber match has been postponed to a later date due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the North Division Finals, Makati-Super Crunch forged a winner-take-all Game Three after toppling San Juan-Go for Gold behind closed doors, 91-88.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Thel Suliva