Adi Santos powered Imus-Buracai de Laiya’s 74-66 win over the Ronjay Buenafe-led Gen San in the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational, Tuesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Santos posted his second consecutive double-double of 18 points — on a 7-of-11 shooting clip — and 16 rebounds in the victory.
Imus opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 blast to pull away from Ronjay Buenafe and the Warriors, who were waxing hot from deep in the third, 65-53, with less than six minutes in the match.
Gen San was able to slice the lead to six before Imus ran away with a 13-point advantage courtesy of a Leo Najorda trey in the final two minutes.
“Nagkaproblema ako sabi ko nga dahil kay Rom Mangalino. Nawala yung rotation ko sa kanya. So kung makikita niyo kanina may game plan kami about Ronjay, and hindi namin inexpect to,” said Imus head coach Manny Torralba.
“Pero I’m very thankful, credit pa rin sa mga players ko wala sa akin kasi sila yung talagang naghihirap dito,” he added.
Najorda had 17 points and four rebounds for the Buracai de Laiya-backed team. Jhaymo Eguilos chipped in 10 points, nine boards, and four assists.
Imus moved to 2-0 in Pool D, tying Mindoro (2-0) at the top spot. Rizal (1-1) and Manila (1-1) are in the middle, while Gen San (0-2) and Bulacan (0-2) are level at the last spot.
On the other hand, Buenafe led the Warriors with 21 points built on five triples.
Gerald Anderson, who got a huge boost with Julia Barretto in the crowd, finished with 15 points off the bench in just 14 minutes of action. It was still far from his career-high of 20 points, which he notched twice in previous seasons.
Next up for Imus is Mindoro on Thursday at 2:30 PM. Meanwhile, Gen San will have the chance to bounce back tomorrow, Wednesday at 5:00 PM.
Imus (74) – Santos 18, Najorda 17, Melencio 13, Eguilos 10, Rogado 10, Llagas 4, Bragais 1, Tan 1, Mescalado 0, Reyson 0
Gen San (66) – Buenafe 21, Anderson 15, Mag-isa 8, Ongteco 6, Apreku 6, Raymundo 5, Ramirez 5, Saldua 0, Mirza 0, Mondragon 0, Masaglang 0
Quarterscores: 19-16, 36-29, 53-51, 74-66