Iloilo pulled away late to take a 71-66 win over Bacoor in the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational, Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Down 64-63 with 2:43 left, the Strikers zoned in, going on an 8-0 rally capped by a Gelo Vito jumper which gave the Royals ahead by seven, 71-64, with 34 seconds left.
“May mga lapses talaga, hindi namin ma-perfect kasi nagaadjust kami during the course of the game,” admitted Iloilo head coach Eric Gonzales as they were only to break away late.
“Ako bilang coach may pagkukulang din ako, nagdadasal nga ako kanina na bigyan ako ng wisdom ni God kung paano ko ie=execute pa saka paboran niya kami na kapag binitawan sana maka-shoot,” he added.
Levi Hernandez dropped 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with three boards, an assist, and a steal for Iloilo.
Chito Jaime collected 16 points and 12 boards while Jayson David added 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Iloilo (3-1) forced a tie with Bacolod (3-1) while Bacoor moved out of contention after sliding to a 1-3 slate in Pool A.
Pasig (3-0) is one of the frontrunners for the quarterfinals spots while Caloocan (1-3) and Negros already bowed out of the playoff race.
Paolo Castro top scored for the Strikers with 19 points while Mark Doligon added 14 points and six rebounds in the loss.
Iloilo will next square off against Caloocan on Sunday at 4:00 PM. Meanwhile, Bacoor will face Negros on the same day at 1:00 PM.
Iloilo (71) – Hernandez 19, Jaime 16, David 12, Maguliano 8, Racho 5, Vito 3, Jeruta 2, Iñigo 2, Taywan 2, Mahari 2, Gumaru 0, Bederi 0.
Bacoor (66) – Castro 19, Doligon 14, Quilatan 8, Albo 8, Canon 6, Acidre 5, Acuña 4, Galicia 2, Garcia 0, Malabag 0, Raymundo 0.
Quarterscores: 16-14, 35-32, 57-55, 71-66