Strikers strike anew; Tigers regain footing in MPBL
BACOOR CITY – The Bacoor Strikers struck hard in the last five minutes to subdue the Laguna Heroes, 91-86, Tuesday night and sustain their climb in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at the packed Strike Gymnasium here.
Trailing, 73-80, the Strikers sued for time with 5:11 to go and then waged a crippling final assault to tally their third straight victory and improve to 4-2 in the South division.
Powered by Gabriel Banal, who fired 25 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and issued 6 assists, and Mark Montuano, who collected 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals, the Strikers pulled down the Heroes to their fourth defeat in six outings.
The 6-foot-3 Banal poured 10 points in the fourth quarter to negate the 29-point explosion of Denok Miranda for the Heroes, who made a tournament-best 13 triples.
Leonardo de Vera and Christopher Sumalinog also sparkled for the Strikers, who canned 9 triples, with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Earlier, the Davao Occidental Tigers leaned on tight defense and efficient free throw shooting to trounce the Cebu City Sharks, 71-64, and snap a three-game slump.
The Tigers held the Sharks to a three-pointer in the final 4:18 while coming through with 12, the last 10 from charities, to level their slate at 3-3 in the South division of the regional league.
The Sharks, on the other hand, sank to 1-5.
With the count tied at 59 with 4:44 to go, the Sharks lose their shooting touch and resorted to fouling the Tigers to prevent open shots
The ploy backfired, however, as the Tigers, powered by Bonbon Custodio and Billy Robles, went perfect from the free throw line in that span en route to a 20 of 24 performance or a high 83 percent conversion rate.
Patrick Cabahug scored all but two of Cebu’s 12 fourth quarter points and wound up with 14 for the Sharks, whose total output was their lowest thus far.
The MPBL goes to Paranaque City on Wednesday with the Pampanga Lanterns battling the Batangas City Athletics at 7 p.m. and the Paranaque Patriots facing the Caloocan Supremos at 9 p.m. at Olivares College Gym