Mindoro-EOG Burlington took early leadership in Pool D of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational, weathering Bulacan’s late hijack attempt, 79-72, Tuesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Up by 14, 66-52, to start the final frame, the Tamaraw defense relaxed and Bryan Faundo took advantage of it. The Kuyas went on a 12-2 spurt to cut the lead down to four with 4:19 left.
“Same as our last game, we were up in the third quarter but unfortunately, nakalimutan namin maglaro ng basketball nung fourth quarter,” lamented Mindoro head coach Britt Reroma.
A booming triple by Ryusei Koga stopped Mindoro’s bleeding but Faundo, along with James Martinez, continued their surge.
With 44 ticks remaining, Martinez made a good cut, slicing the lead down to three, 75-72. Koga and Jeramer Cabanag though scored in succeeding possessions to seal Mindoro’s second win.
“But we will still take this as a win. We were playing not to lose in the fourth quarter,” continued Reroma. “We have to work on that. Alam naman natin na yung liga na ito nakapaiksi. Every game counts and we need to work on things again.”
Cabanag led five Tamaraws in double-figures with 15 points. Koga added 14 points built on four treys while James Castro got 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Alvin Baetiong had 12 points but missed all of his seven free throw attempts.
Jeymark Mallari added 10 points.
Bulacan, on the other hand, went down to the bottom of their group with a 0-2 record. Imus is at second with a 1-0 slate while Rizal and Manila are 1-1. GenSan is 0-1.
Faundo paced Bulacan with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field with 12 rebounds. Martinez added 15 points.
Mindoro will next face Imus on Thursday at 2:30 PM. Meanwhile, Bulacan takes on Rizal later in that day at 7:30 PM.
Mindoro EOG Burlington 79 – Cabanag 15, Koga 14, Castro 13, Baetiong 12, Mallari 10, Mariano 6, Cosejo 5, Liwag 4, Villapando 0, Matias 0, Caldozo 0, Saldana 0.
Bulacan 72 – Faundo 22, Martinez 15, Hoyohoy 9, Caspe 7, Inigo 6, Escosio 4, Dela Cruz 3, Neypes 3, Arim 3, Marquez 0, Bacay 0.
Quarterscores: 16-20, 35-37, 66-52, 79-72.