MANILA, Philippines — Davao Occidental frustrated defending champion San Juan with a huge 66-58 Game Three victory to move closer from the MPBL-Chooks-to-Go Lakan Season title Saturday at the Subic Bay Gym.
The Tigers banked on a strong 41-27 start then weathered the Knights’ late-game rally to erect a 2-1 series lead for a potential sweet revenge in their best-of-five national finals rematch.
Billy Ray Robles led Davao Occidental’s balanced attack with 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists and four blocks while Ken Mocon (11) and Bonbon Custodio (10) contributed enough for the South Division champion.
Ex-pros Mark Yee (7) and Jerwin Gaco (7) with Yvan Ludovice (6) and Emman Calo (6) also came up big for Davao, which stunned its rival San Juan in Game One with a 77-75 overtime victory.
“Sabi ni coach (Don Dulay), magfocus lang kami lagi at wag susuko kasi nandito na kami. Iyon lang ang ginawa namin,” said Robles as Davao nearly wasted a comfortable 56-45 cushion in the final canto.
Mike Ayonayon (16) and John Wilson (12) once again proved as the only bright spots for the Knights, who were limited to just five points in the last seven minutes after striking within 53-56.
Buoyed by a tough 65-70 Game 2 loss, Davao Occidental put the North Division titlist for good with a quick 6-0 blitz capped by Mocon’s 3 for a 62-53 upperhand heading home.
Davao Occidental shoots for a potential closeout Game Four win at 4 p.m. Sunday to complete its vengeance big against tormentor San Juan, which escaped with a 3-2 series win last season.
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