MALOLOS, BULACAN — Also-ran Rizal-Xentro Mall played the spoiler role, outlasting playoff-hopeful Bicol-LCC Stores in a tight 79-77 outing in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup, Thursday at the Malolos Sports Convention Center.
Down by five points, 70-75, Bicol’s Jerome Garcia drilled a trey before going 1-of-2 from the line to slice Rizal’s lead to just a point with 1:21 remaining in the game.
Mark Benitez then showed nerves of steel, firing from three-point range to stretch the Golden Coolers’ cushion to four points, 78-74.
In another effort to save his team from defeat, Garcia once again pulled up from deep to slice the lead to just a solitary point with 6.9 ticks left. But Benitez then bagged the game with a split from the line.
“My team kasi have nothing to lose. We just have to respond to the way they were playing. Siguro nag-relax sila thinking na hindi na kami lalaban but my players… Ang kagandahan sa kanila, laban pa rin sila,” said Rizal head coach Jayvee Gayoso.
Benitez 17 points, 10 boards, and three assists for the 5-22 Golden Coolers, who is still dead last in the North Division.
Jayvee Vidal chipped in 14 points and five rebounds. Kelvin Gregorio finished with 16 points and four boards.
On the other hand, Garcia led Bicol with 19 points built on five three-pointers. Ronjay Buenafe added 13 points and seven assists, while Chris Lalata had 12 points and nine boards.
The Volcanoes remained at the eight spot of the South Division with a 15-14 standing – one game ahead fellow playoff-hopeful Cebu, who possesses a 13-14 standing.
Rizal-Xentro Mall (79) – Benitez 17, Vidal 14, Gregorio 13, Raflores 11, Casajeros 9, Hoyohoy 8, Lacastesantos 5, Martin 2, Bautista 0, Butel 0, Rosales 0
Bicol-LCC Stores (77) – Garcia 19, Buenafe 13, Lalata 12, Lao 6, Alfonso 5, Alday 4, Mondragon 4, Gusi 4, Salinas 4, Ongtengco 2, Manalang 2, Aldave 2, Guerrero 0, Olea 0, Villar 0
Quarterscores: 17-15, 37-37, 62-62, 79-77
Story by Jonash Dannug
Photo by Joaqui Flores
Ella Fajardo commits to D1 school Fairleigh Dickinson
KarlTzy clutch as BREN Esports hailed as MLBB SEA champions
Why Kevin Alas and Jericho Cruz decided to forego their final years in college
Alfred Aroga’s iconic block on Kiefer was culmination of many things
6-foot-8 Phillips bros to play for La Salle
BCAP condemns Baldwin’s ‘suggestions’ for PH basketball: ‘We are being underestimated’
Tab Baldwin declines offers from Ateneans to pay fine as money should go to COVID-19 drives
‘Super Friends’ blasts Tab Baldwin’s comments on PH basketball
Chooks-to-Go donates 5,000 pcs of dressed chicken to CESAFI
Barangay Ginebra reunite in SMC HQ, pack PPEs for frontliners
Makati survives Ablaza injury, San Juan to force MPBL North Game Three
Robles, Custodio take over Basilan, lift Davao Occi to MPBL South do-or-die
- ESports1 day ago
At 15, Kielvj stopped school for ML — and has mom’s full support
- Bandwagon Wire4 days ago
Stats Don’t Lie: The state of Philippine three-point shooting
- ESports1 day ago
Renzio’s gamble to be full-time ML player pays off
- Football4 days ago
Hartmann marvels at football prodigy Lance Ocampo