Bacoor squandered a substantial lead and settled for a 91-86 victory against Bacolod in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season on Monday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Despite being well ahead at 74-50 late in the third quarter, the Strikers grew complacent, allowing the Bacolodnons to mount a threat at 86-88 after a 19-5 run, capped by a Ryusei Koga triple with 1 minute and 18 seconds remaining.
However, Bacolod failed to score beyond that point, and Bacoor secured their 18th win against four losses through split free throws from Aaron Jeruta and two successful free throws from James Kwekuteye.
Veteran Chito Jaime concluded with 15 points, 12 of which were scored in the third quarter, earning him the best player honors for Bacoor.
The Strikers also received 11 points each from Michael Canete and Kwekuteye.
On the other hand, Bacolod, which now holds a 9-14 record, saw Mark Sarangay contribute 22 points and 9 rebounds, John Cantimbuhan with 14 points, Koga with 12 points, and homegrown Alfred Sedillo with 10 points.
In the nightcap of another elimination round tripleheader of the 29-team tournament, Rizal Xentromall gained momentum with a 77-71 triumph over Sarangani.
The Golden Coolers relied on Jeric James Pido and Alvin John Capobres to fend off the Marlins, maintaining their playoff contention with an 11-13 slate.
Pido scored five of his 15 points in the final 2 minutes and 9 seconds, including crucial free throws with 18 seconds left. He also contributed 9 rebounds and 4 assists, helping Rizal pull down Sarangani to a 9-14 record.
Capobres, whose basket cooled Sarangani’s rally at 74-69, finished with 14 points, while Troy Mallillin added 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Sarangani got 21 points and rebounds from Rafael Are and 11 points along with 6 assists from Jeff Comia.
In the opening game, the Marikina Shoemasters dominated the Bicol Volcanoes, securing a 100-59 victory to continue their ascent in the standings.
With their sixth consecutive win, Marikina improved to a 13-10 record, while Bicol remained at the bottom with 22 losses and only one win.
Jason Strait led Marikina with 16 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Marwin Dionisio with 14 points and 6 rebounds, Felipe Chavez with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, and homegrown players Silas Zabale and Raymond Casajeros, both contributing 10 points each.
The MPBL will visit the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City on Tuesday, featuring Bataan facing off against Laguna at 4 p.m., Quezon Province competing against Valenzuela at 6 p.m., and Pasig testing Nueva Ecija at 8 p.m.