ALCANTARA — KCS-Mandaue tightened their defense in the fourth period to pull away from Siquijor and grab the win, 66-46, in the main game of the opening day in the Visayas leg of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Cup at the Civic Center here, Friday.
Mandaue led by 20 early but saw their lead dwindle to as little as five, 42-37, late in the third canto. However, KCS got their act together in the payoff period where they held the Mystics to a mere five points to snatch the win.
Far Eastern University products Gryann Mendoza and Al Francis Tamsi led Mandaue with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Up by just eight early in the fourth, Tamsi sparked the breakaway by scoring five of the next seven points that put KCS in front by 15, 59-44, with 4:30 left in the game.
KCS head coach Mike Reyes said they had a lot of trouble with Siquijor’s crafty players.
“Minamama kami lahat eh,” said Reyes, who added that their defense or lack thereof was just as much to blame as Siquijor’s proficiency in the shaded lane.
“Nagkakamali kami sa defense but we adjusted and ginawa nila ang dapat gawin. The right helpers came and we started fronting the post and that’s when we were able to pull away,” noted Reyes, who steered the Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras to the CESAFI men’s basketball crown in 2019.
Miguel Castellano was the lone player to score in double-figures for Siquijor with 14 points to go with eight boards and two assists.
Team skipper and former Ateneo star Ryan Buenafe was held scoreless in more than eight minutes of action.
KCS-Mandaue will next face MJAS Zenith-Talisay in an early Battle of Cebu match-up on Tuesday. Siquijor, on the other hand, will have little rest as it takes on Dumaguete tomorrow at 7:00PM.
KCS-Mandaue (66) – Mendoza 17, Tamsi 12, Octobre 9, Delator 6, Soliva 4, Solera 4, Mercader 3, Roncal 3, Imperial 3, Bregondo 3, Bonganciso 2, Cachuela 0, Nalos 0, Castro 0
Siquijor (46) – Castellano 14, Peñaflor 8, Rodriguez 6, Aspiras 5, J. Buenafe 3, Belleza 3, Alcober 3, Quiro 2, Gooc 2, R. Buenafe 0.
Quarterscores: 17-7, 34-20, 48-41, 66-46