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Bulacan rocks Pasay late in 2nd half for comeback home win

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Pasay was poised to give Bulacan a humiliating home loss come halftime.

The Kuyas, however, found their groove in the final 20 minutes.

Bulacan came back from 19 points down to subdue Pasay, 73-70, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos on Thursday night.

Behind a solid defensive effort, the Voyagers raced to a 40-21 lead with 1:44 left in the first half.

But the Kuya went on an 11-0 run that spilled to the third quarter that cut the lead down to eight, 40-32.

Pasay got its bearing going again and stretched the lead back to 17, 54-37, but Bulacan answered with a 21-8 rally to trim the lead to six, 62-58, with 7:01 remaining in the fourth.

After being scoreless for the first three minutes of the payoff period, the Voyagers finally got on the board with a split from Shaq Alanes as they looked to be holding on.

But a crucial triple from James Martinez, four straight free throws from Jovit Dela Cruz, and, more importantly, two huge blocks from Jorey Napoles and Jason Melano capped the Kuyas' game-ending 8-0 run to seal the comeback.

Ron Lastimosa had a chance to force overtime, but his corner three rimmed out before the final buzzer.

Stephen Siruma made 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Napoles had a double-double of 14 markers and 12 boards with two blocks for Bulacan, which moved up to 10-5.

Yvan Ludovice and Bobby Balucanag each had 12 points for Pasay, which fell to 6-9.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno