By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
THE Mindoro Tamaraws halted Iloilo United Royal’s three-game winning streak, outplaying them in four thrilling quarters to seal the win, 70-68, in the MPBL Lakan Cup.
The Tamaraws capitalized on Iloilo’s turnovers early in the game, taking a large lead early on, 12-2, and gaining momentum with their consecutive shots from deep.
Finding early trouble in the paint, Iloilo’s assistant coach Nash Racela deployed a towering combination of Rey Publico, Richard Escoto, and Eric Rodriguez late in the second quarter to help control the shaded area, finishing the half with a 41-35 score.
Sandy Ceñal proved to be troublesome for Iloilo’s big men as he tallied 5 rejections, 9 rebounds, and 11 big points, 3 of which came from a buzzer-beating three in the closing moments of the 4th quarter.
Ceñal’s aggressiveness to get the loose balls and corral every rebound proved crucial to their win, as he was able to grab the last 4 rebounds for the Tamaraws.
With Mac Baracael playing flat, his teammates put on a collective effort to put up points on the board as Luigi Natada and Nicol Bolos scored 14 and 15 respectively.
Iloilo had their moments in the game, but could not get the needed stop to take the advantage.
With 0.7 seconds left in the final frame, Iloilo had their chance to equalize but the alley-oop play designed by coach Racela was defended well by the Tamaraws.
Mindoro continues their winning streak to three, while Iloilo fell to 7-5, snapping their three-game winning streak.
Mindoro- Bolos 15, Natada 14, Señal 11, Abanes 9, Baracael 5, Vaygan 5
Iloilo- Escoto 20, Gumaru 11, Tamsi 10, Rodriguez 6, Pedrosa 5, Arambulo 4