By Ivan Saldajeno
BINAN--Opening the MPBL Datu Cup with a dismal 2-14 record, Pasig needs to win all its remaining nine games to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Right on the first MPBL game for 2019, the team got what it wanted.
Despite a late comeback bid by Quezon City, Pasig started the new year right with a 98-95 upset at the Alonte Sports Arena on Thursday night.
The Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak as well as the Capitals' four-game winning streak, although the former nearly bubbled a 15-point lead before holding on.
Banking on a 37-point third quarter blast, Pasig looked to seal the blowout after opening an 85-70 lead with 6:55 left in the fourth.
However, QC came alive later in the fourth and was within one, 95-96, with 35 seconds on the clock.
Marlon Monte kept the door open for QC as he only made 1-for-2 from the free throw line, but Jeff Morillo muffed his jumphook and Kojack Melegrito grabbed the rebound.
Melegrito, however, could not still ice the game for the Pirates as he split his own charities, giving the Capitals 6.2 seconds to try another game-tying basket.
Pasig's defense locked down Andoy Estrella and Hesed Gabo at the left side, and Gabo was forced to take a contested triple from the corner that rimmed out as time expired.
Marlon Monte posted a career-high 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal for the Pirates, who are now at 3-14.
Argel Mendoza added 14 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and one steal, while Jerwin Gaco and Francis Camacho each chipped in 13 markers.
Estrella put up 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one steal for the now 6-9 Capitals, but he too had six turnovers as they fell to eighth place in the Northern Division.
Gabo (14 points and 11 assists) and Jay Collado (15 points and 15 rebounds) came up with double-doubles.
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