PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—After a 0-2 start, Kapatagan has suddenly become one of the hottest teams in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge.
The Buffalos are riding a four-game winning streak, in which the last three were played in consecutive days.
The rise to the top of the standings started on Nov. 25, when they defeated the hapless Iligan, 82-78.
Then came the string of three games in three days.
Kapatagan opened the stretch with the biggest of victories, handing Basilan BRT its first-ever loss in league history, 77-71. Then they slayed another powerhouse in Globalport-MisOr, 65-63, on Sunday.
And on Monday, the Buffalos capped the stretch perfectly with a 69-62 conquest of Pagadian.
“Nabubuo na ‘yung jelling namin. Siguro mga 80 to 85 percent na ang jelling namin,” said head coach Jaime Rivera.
What made Kapatagan’s streak more impressive is it is the only squad that has no Luzon or ex-pro player.
The team has 17 players in its roster, 13 of whom are from the islands of Visayas and Mindanao. Meanwhile, four are homegrown players from Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.
“Maganda ang rotation namin. ‘Yung mga veterans namin nama-manage ‘yung minutes kasi marami kaming bata,” said Rivera.
The Buffalos always get steady contributions from veterans Edrian Lao, Gayford Rodriguez, Jonel Bonganciso, and Garexx Puerto.
But the youthful duo of Mark Daanoy and KD Ariar was the surprise Kapatagan unveiled in its last three outings.
There, the former averaged 13.6 points, while the latter got 11 points per game. They also became the squad’s leading scorers in that stretch.
“Bata pa ‘yang dalawa pero magagaling. Sa team naman namin walang star star eh, kung sino ang pumasok sure puputok eh,” the head tactician added.
“Maganda na balanced ‘yung lineup kasi we are hard to scout. Kampante na ako na kahit sino ang hugutin mo, ready sila.”
Allan Sala, Anchor Igot, JR Saga, Chris Regero, Vlair Lingolingo, Richmond Regero, John Rey Manatad, Djoene Torres, Josel Sollano, James Incio, and Joshua Caburnay complete the ragtag team.