By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--A new-look Parañaque Patriots squad got a baptism of fire on Friday night in the MPBL Datu Cup's return to its home, the Olivarez College Gymnasium in Parañaque.
However, the Basilan Steel came to town with a mission: to end a long period of agony, and they succeeded.
Basilan finally put to an end a league record seven-game losing streak with an 89-84 win at Parañaque.
The Steel won for the first time in three months as they took charge in the second half and withstood a gallant stand from the Patriots, who found new heroes in Nikki Monteclaro and Paolo Castro.
After a slow first quarter that saw Parañaque leading at the close of the period, 20-15, Basilan began to recover in the second quarter and forced a 39-all deadlock at halftime.
The team then slowed Parañaque down in the third to gain the upper hand, 64-55, before Cris Dumapig, Jerald and Tata Bautista, and Dennis Daa scored on huge baskets that weathered the Monteclaro and Castro-powered push of its opponent in the fourth.
Dumapig put up 19 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and one steal off the bench to lead the Steel, who moved up to a tie with the Rizal Crusaders at 5-12.
While they remain at the bottom of the Southern Division standings, they are just 2.5 games behind the GenSan Warriors, who will host the Navotas Clutch on Saturday night, for eighth place.
Daa and Jerald Bautista each added 16 markers off the bench.
Castro put up 23 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while Monteclaro added 20 markers, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal for the Patriots, who fell to 8-9.
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