By Ivan Saldajeno
BINAN--Bataan survived a gritty Binan squad and prevailed, 77-70, in a pivotal MPBL Datu Cup game at the Alonte Sports Arena on Monday night.
The league-leading Risers blew a 15-point lead when the Heroes came alive defensively in the second half, but the former held on as the latter lost steam in the end.
Bataan was in full control for most of the first half, opening a 41-26 advantage in the second quarter.
But Binan stifled Bataan in the third quarter, limiting the visiting side to just 13 points, and eventually took a 67-65 lead with 5:34 to play in the fourth.
The Risers regained control after finishing the game on a 12-5 run especially as the Heroes missed six of their last seven free throws down the stretch.
Yves Ludovice made 16 points, two rebounds, and six assists for Bataan, which at 18-2 is now assured of a Top 4 spot in the Northern Division playoffs or a homecourt advantage in the first round.
Gary David added 11 points, five rebounds, and one assist, while Pamboy Raymundo, Richard Escoto, and Gab Dagangon each tallied 10 markers. Escoto went 4-for-4 from the field.
Ralf Olivarez made 18 markers, five boards, and three dimes for Binan, which fell to 10th place in the Southern Division at 9-13.
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