By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--Bobby Balucanag hit two go-ahead free throws to lift Pasay over Quezon City, 83-81, in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Rizal Memorial College Gymnasium in Davao City on Saturday night.
Balucanag's game-winning freebies, which came with 57 seconds left, saved his career-high performance from going down the drain as the Voyagers survived a late push from the Capitals.
Pasay was on track on dealing QC its third straight loss after a Ron Lastimosa dropped a booming triple with 1:23 to go for an 81-77 lead.
But Jay Collado converted two free throws, while John Tayongtong stole the ball from Yvan Ludovice and went on a hang time lay-in to tie the game, 81-all, with exactly a minute left.
Mon Mabayo, however, fouled Balucanag in the next play, and the latter, who is not really known for his free throw shooting, made the charities that mattered the most.
The Capitals still had a chance to win the game as Collado found himself wide open for the three, but Ludovice did enough in forcing Collado to change his shot even as Hesed Gabo badly missed his putback before Ralph Salcedo ran the clock after grabbing the game-saving rebound.
Balucanag made 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, 13 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal for Pasay, which has barged into the Top 8 in the Northern Division through its third straight win that put the team up to 5-7.
Ludovice came close to a triple-double with his own double-double of 19 points and 10 assists and eight rebounds with four steals and one block.
Collado finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block for QC, which fell to 2-7.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno