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Navotas escapes from Batangas City in 2OT thriller

By Ivan Saldajeno

BIÑAN—Navotas survived a double overtime classic against Batangas City and won, 101-98, in the MPBL Datu Cup at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila on Tuesday night.

The Clutch were actually on the verge of winning the game in regulation as they took an 80-77 lead with just 12 seconds left in the fourth period.

But Lester Alvarez buried a buzzer-beating triple off the third serving to force the first overtime period.

Navotas opened the first five-minute extension with a 6-0 run only for Batangas City to respond with an 8-0 blast of its own to go up, 88-86.

The Athletics had a chance to seal the win after Nico Abatayo stole the ball from Jai Reyes, but Jeff Viernes lost the ball in the ensuing possession and Joe Trinidad scored on a jumper just before the buzzer sounded to send the game to another overtime.

After a back-and-forth to start the additional five minutes, the Clutch threatened to pull away as they opened a five-point cushion, 99-94, with 1:26 to go.

However, Lucas Tagarda kept Batangas City in the game after scoring on back-to-back layups to come to within one, 98-99, with 28 seconds left.

Marlon Gomez scored on an inside attempt to give Navotas a three-point advantage with 8.3 seconds remaining.

Alvarez tried to force a third overtime, but his three-pointer missed the target as time expired.

Reyes and Gomez each scored 22 points for the Clutch, who moved up to 9-11.

Viernes' 28-point bomb went down the drain as the Athletics fell to 12-9, just a full game ahead of the GenSan Warriors for third place in the Southern Division.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno