By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
ILOILO, looking to snap their 2-game losing streak, shook up their lineup and made changes to their starting five. It would prove effective as the Royals snagged the win, 77-74, from a streaking Bicol team backed up by a hostile home crowd.
Iloilo opened the game with a renewed fervor, jumping to an early lead courtesy of some timely shooting and nifty drives by Cedric de Joya scoring 12 points with 2 dimes in 18 minutes of action..
Iloilo top gunner Richard Escoto made up for his four-point performance in the previous game with 21 points, 8 boards and 2 assists.
The United Royals shot the lights out from start to finish, as their signature run-and-gun system worked efficiently; scoring 19 points from the fast break compared to Bicol’s five.
The 62 big points from the bench also helped ignite the team, giving them a lift during the crucial breaks of the game.
In the final canto, Iloilo survived a late Bicol run that trimmed the deficit from 13 to just a single point.
With 53 seconds left, Bicol forced a shot-clock violation and converted a clutch trey from Jonathan Aldave in the ensuing possession, 75-74.
Iloilo had multiple chances to put the game away but failed to capitalize from the free-throw line, only converting 2 out of 6 shots from the charity stripe in the dying seconds.
Plagued by foul trouble, Ronjay Buenafe had limited impact in the game, scoring 10 points all coming from the free-throw line.
With the win, Iloilo improves to 4-3 and is now placed 8th in Group B (South Division).
Iloilo will take on Basilan Steel on August 2, 2019, in Pasig Sports Complex.
Iloilo – Escoto 21, De Leon 17, De Joya 12, Gumaru 9, Tamsi 9, Publico 3, Arambulo 2
Bicol – Aldave 18, Buanafe 10, Garcia 9, Alday 8, Gusi 7, Lalata 6,Ongteco 6, Mondragon 5