The Laguna Heroes-Krah stopped the Navotas Clutch shooters to coast to a 74-61 victory in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at Navotas Sports Complex on Friday.
Taking away the Clutch’s running game by gang rebounding, the Heroes greeted the fourth quarter with a 10-point cluster to pull away 62-47 and tally their second straight victory after an initial setback.
In the first game, the Bataan Risers also sustained their climb by thwarting the Davao Occidental Tigers 91-88.
As the Navotas gunners struggled, the Heroes, piercing the Clutch’s defenses several times, rallied from a 47-31 halftime deficit to move ahead 52-47 after the third quarter.
Just when the packed crowd thought the Clutch explosion would finally come, the opposite happened as the Heroes, behind Raymond Ilagan, Ralph Olivarez and Michael Mabulac, steadily widened the gap.
The burly 6-foot-3 Ilagan scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Olivarez chipped in 15 points.
“We took away their running game with good rebounding,” said Laguna coach Alex Angeles, “and covered their shooters.”
As a result, the Clutch shot just 29 percent from the floor, making 22 of 75 tries and dropping to a tie with the Heroes. They were woeful from three-point range, converting just 5 of 28 attempts for 18 percent.
In the other game, Pamboy Raymundo sparkled for the Risers with a game-high 21 points, including 4 triples, that helped quashed the Tigers’ repeated rallies.
With 6-foot-6 Jeepy Faundo snaring 13 rebounds, the Risers ruled the boards, 61-43, en route to a 2-1 record.
The Tigers, who prevented the Risers from pulling away by making 11 steals, suffered their first loss in three games.
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