By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—GenSan held on despite Basilan's furious endgame rally to take an 83-81 win in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay on Monday night.
Mark Racho's hot night nearly went down the drain as the Warriors relinquished a 12-point cushion, but they held on as the Steel lost steam in the end.
GenSan threatened to break away in the third quarter after opening a 57-45 lead with 5:30 left in the said period.
But Basilan responded and even took a 72-69 advantage with 6:37 to play in the fourth.
Racho then buried back-to-back triples to put the Warriors ahead, 75-74, with 5:16 left.
Dennis Daa answered with a trey of his own to give the Steel a 77-75 advantage with 4:46 to go.
Leomar Losentes and John Orbeta scored on back-to-back layups to give GenSan the lead back, 79-77, with 2:03 to go.
Choi Ignacio scored on a lay-in of his own to tie the game again at 79-all, but Orbeta retaliated with a three-ball to give the Warriors an 82-79 advantage with 52 seconds to play.
Daa scored on a layup to keep the Steel in the game, chipping the lead down to just one with 46 seconds left.
They even had a chance to retake the lead as Japs Bautista stripped the ball from Racho, but they missed on three straight attempts.
Racho, however, kept Basilan in the game as he only made a split from the line.
Daa had a chance to force overtime, but his turnaround jumper failed to hit the mark as time expired.
Racho finished with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting including 4-of-6 from downtown with three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for GenSan, which moved up to fourth place in the Southern Division at 10-9.
Meylan Landicho also went 4-for-6 from three-point land and finished with 14 points alongside five rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
Delmar Mahaling chipped in a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds with five steals and one block.
Macky Acosta put up 19 points for Basilan, which fell to 6-14.
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