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Tiebreaker Times


Lalata makes huge stop, keeps Bicol clinging to last MPBL South playoff spot

BIÑAN, LAGUNA — Bicol-LCC Stores strengthened its hold of the eighth seed in the South, nipping Quezon City-WEMSAP, 89-87, Saturday in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season at the Alonte Sports Arena here. 

The Volcanoes raised their win-loss card to 15-13, still the eighth seed in the tough Southern division, just 1.5 games ahead of 12-13 Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol.

With one final possession to tie or take the win with 13.2 ticks left, Quezon City went to Mark Olayon, who drove to the basket. He passed the ball underneath, only to see it stolen by Bicol big man Chris Lalata. Lalata then threw the ball to Ronjay Buenafe on the other end of the court to preserve the win for his team.

“Nag-gamble na kami doon. We switched everyone kahit na may tendency na magkakaroon ng mismatch. Sabi ko lang recover lang agad. Sakto pagdrive ni Olayon, nandoon si Chris,” Volcanoes head coach Mon Kallos on their final defensive stop.

Trailing by two at the 1:09 mark of the pivotal fourth period, Capitals’ Jeff Morillo then found Fidel Castro underneath for the easy reverse to knot the game at 87.

But Olayon fouled Buenafe on the other end with 48.7 seconds remaining, with the latter burying both of his freebies — the eventual game-winning shots.

Bicol’s three-guard combo made most of the damage, with Buenafe winding up with 22 points; Jerome Garcia talling 16 markers and seven rebounds; and Alwyn Alday getting 14 points.

High-leaping Lalata provided 13 points, 10 rebounds, and four dimes, while Jonathan Aldave added 11 markers.

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On the other hand, Ryan Costelo delivered 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the 10-18 Capitals. Clark Derige chipped in 16 markers and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Olayon just missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 boards, and eight dimes.

The Scores:

Bicol-LCC Stores 89 – Buenafe 22, Garcia 16, Alday 14, Lalata 13, Aldave 11, Mondragon 4, Alfonso 3, Olea 3, Ongteco 2, Lao 1, Guerrero 0, Manalang 0, Gusi 0.

Quezon City-WEMSAP 87 – Costelo 25, Derige 16, Olayon 13, Castro 8, Medina 7, Sison 6, Barua 5, Atabay 3, Olea 2, Morillo 2, Gadon 0.

Quarterscores: 20-20, 38-40, 60-63, 89-87.

Story by Justin Valencia
Photo by Thel Suliva

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