In the first 3 quarters, it looked like Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic will have an easy time beating expansion team Bicol Volcanoes in the opening game of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup at Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.
But when the Volcanoes fought back to within 2 points in the payoff period, the wards of coach Jerson Cabiltes knew they had to pull a few tricks up their sleeves to hack out a 94-83 victory.
“When they started chasing loose balls, and getting more shots sa dulo, I think doon sila nakasingit,” said Cabiltes.
Fortunately, topscoring big man Jay Collado, who was recently acquired from the Quezon City Capitals, was already familiar with some of his teammates, including Hesed Gabo.
When Bicol came up with its final hurrah that decimated Basilan’s lead to 73-75, Collado and Gabo partnered to quell the rally with one of their own.
Collado had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Basilan. Dagangon added 15 points while Gabo and Cris Dumapig scored 13 each.
Alwin Alday finished with 23 points for Bicol. Ex-pros Alex Nuyles and Ronjay Buenafe added 22 and 15, respectively.
The Steel played without Jonathan Uyloan who is nursing an injury.
“He had an injured heel, so we rested him for a while,” said coach Cabiltes.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.