LAMITAN CITY — The South kings live to fight another day.
Top seed Davao Occidental-Cocolife escaped third-ranked Basilan-Jumbo Plastic, 81-76, to force a Game Three in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South Division Finals, Wednesday at the Lamitan City Gym here in Basilan.
Knotted at 74-all after an Allyn Bulanadi basket with 1:33 left in the game, Billy Ray Robles answered with a booming left-wing triple to give Davao a 77-74 edge. Bulanadi then scored another deuce to get them within one.
But with 56.2 ticks left, Tigers guard Bonbon Custodio forced a switch. He took an isolation play against Steel big man Jay Collado, with the former draining a bank shot in front of the burly center, 79-76.
In the ensuing play, Bulanadi airballed a three-pointer as the ball slipped at his hands. Mark Yee then iced the game from the stripe.
“We were doing good but Basilan is bound to come back. They are big shotmakers. But our guys fought tonight with our backs against the wall, and I can’t be more proud,” said Davao Occidental coach Don Dulay.
Previously, with the Tigers ahead entering the payoff period, 64-55, Jhaps Bautista took over for Basilan. He drilled four three-pointers and had an assist to put the Steel up, 69-65, with 4:31 left.
“We have pretty tough defenders on our side. It’s always a team effort and not just rely on Emman, Mocon, Billy. It has to be always a team effort,” Dulay added as his squad limited Basilan ace Bulanadi to just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field while forcing four turnovers.
Custodio scored six of his eight points in the final frame alongside five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.
Emman Calo led Davao with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals. Meanwhile, Richard Albo was a revelation off the bench with 14 markers on 5-of-8 shooting.
On the other hand, Bautista tallied 24 points, six boards and four dimes for Basilan. Jay Collado had 21 markers and eight rebounds.
The winner-take-all rubber match will be on Saturday in Davao.
Davao Occidental 81 — Calo 17, Albo 14, Mocon 10, Custodio 8, Robles 7, Yee 7, Terso 6, Balagtas 4, Saldua 4, Gaco 2, Ludovice 1, Forrester 1.
Basilan 76 — Bautista 24, Collado 21, Bulanadi 7, Balucanag 7, Gabo 6, Dumapig 5, Dagangon 2, Bringas 2, Uyloan 2, Manalang 0, Palencia 0, Daa 0.
Quarterscores: 15-18, 36-37, 64-55, 81-76.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Thel Suliva
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