By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—Bulacan ended a two-game skid in the MPBL Datu Cup with a 102-96 win against Pasig at the Batangas State University-Jose P. Laurel Polytechnic College Gymnasium in Malvar on Tuesday night.
Engaging in a high-scoring match that saw both teams combine for 66 assists—33 each—the Kuyas held off the gritty Pirates to stay in the fight for homecourt edge in the first round of the playoffs.
In a relatively tight encounter, Bulacan found an opportunity to pull away after taking a 99-90 lead with 3:15 remaining.
However, back-to-back triples from Leo Avenido pulled Pasig to within three, 96-99, with 1:16 to play.
The Pirates, however, were haunted by three huge turnovers down the stretch, including a Jerwin Gaco bad save that led to Jason Melano's eventual dagger layup with 50 seconds to play.
James Martinez put up 21 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, and block, while Melano finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks for Bulacan, which moved up to 12-8, 3.5 games behind Makati for fourth place in the Northern Division.
Gaco made 29 markers, five boards, four dimes, and one block for Pasig, which further slipped to 3-16.
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