Coming off a 7-18 campaign in the 2018-19 MPBL Datu Cup, the new-look Basilan Steel opened their Lakan Cup campaign on a high note, staving off the debuting Bicol Volcanoes, 94-83, Wednesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
However, it wasn’t the start that Basilan head coach Jerson Cabiltes expected from the reloaded Steel.
“Not to say na disappointed. A win’s a win, pero kelangan ma-sustain namin yung effort namin first to fourth quarter. We’re gonna get better from this,” he said.
Up by as much as 16 points in the third frame, 58-42, Basilan allowed the duo of Alex Nuyles and Alwin Alday to cut the lead to just four entering the final frame. The run included a 16-2 spurt the sliced the lead to two.
“It was a game of runs. Sila yung talagang mas gusto nung third quarter, pero sa timeout, sinabi ko lang sa kanila na ibalik yung laban nila,” Cabiltes continued.
Behind Gab Dagangon, Basilan went on a 10-2 run late to gain a 12-point cushion with 2:31 left.
Dagangon finished with 15 points.
Leo Gabo and Jessie Collado put the finishing touches in the contest.
Collado and Gabo, who played for the QC Capitals in the Datu Cup, finished with 16 and 13 points respectively with the former grabbing 10 boards as well.
“In terms of chemistry, binibigyan ko lang ng recognition yung tiwala na binibigay ni coach. Siguro, yung chemistry, nagsimula rin sa amin,” Gabo said about his partnership with Collado.
“Siguro, sa chemistry, yung mga kasama namin, matagal na naming kilala ko alam din namin kung pano sila sa game,” Collado added.
Alday, a former Capital as well, led Bicol with 23 points while Nuyles added 22 points. Ronjay Buenafe finished with a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.
Basilan 94 –– Collado 16, Dagangon 15, Gabo 13, Dumapig 13, Bautista 8, Palencia 8, Hallare 6, Bringas 5, Daa 4, Alanes 3, Sorela 2, Balucanag 1, Ng 0, Trinidad 0.
Bicol 83 — Alday 23, Nuyles 22, Buenafe 15, Lalata 7, Milagrosa 6, Mondragon 5, Guerrero 0, Ongteco 2, Gusi 2, Alfonso 1, Manalang 0, Gandol 0, Garcia 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22, 55-42, 69-65, 94-83.