Axel Inigo shines anew as Pasay defeated Rizal

Siblings Achie and Axel Iñigo went up against each other as their teams; Rizal Golden Coolers and Pasay Voyagers played at the Cuneta Astrodome, Monday night. Marc Camasura/Pasay Voyagers
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

PASAY CITY - It was a sibling rivalry of some sorts in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League on a Monday night at the Cuneta Astrodome as Axel Inigo of the Pasay Voyagers went up against his older brother, Achie and the rest of the Rizal Golden Coolers.

In the end, Axel prevailed as he chipped in 26 points, including the crucial free throws that he converted in the endgame to hand the win over to the Voyagers, 74-69.

The younger Inigo was also impressive from beyond the arc, scoring 6 out of 10 three-point shots.

It wasn't just Axel alone who was a threat from the outside in this highly intense match-up between Pasay and Rizal as the three-point scoring also worked wonders for Elvin Chan, Jaypee Belencion, AJ Vitug and Jan Jamon.

It had been a very close match in the first half, with Rizal owning the 1st quarter with a 1-point advantage; 14-13.

Pasay on the other hand, bounced back come the second quarter, beginning with a shotclock-beating triple from Jamon.

Jamon's triple opened the path for the Voyagers to go on a 4-0 scoring run and edge out the Golden Coolers by 9 points, 23-14.

Rizal was able to recover from the barrage of points scored by Pasay, and both teams headed to the locker room with the Voyagers taking a point as an advantage, 33-32.

At the get go of the third period, Pasay and Rizal were almost going neck and neck against each other, exchanging baskets after baskets until Axel scored a massive triple to give a 9-point lead for the Voyagers, alarming the Golden Coolers and forced them to call for a timeout with 2:46 left in the quarter.

Pasay was able to kept the 9-point edge at the end of the quarter, 56-47 through the free throws that home grown talent, Harold Lomtong converted.

Despite the efforts of the Golden Coolers to stay close in the ball game come the 4th quarter, the Voyagers made a statement that they are out to defend their turf and they did so in great fashion.

Achie Inigo took advantage of a miscue by Belencion with 45.7 seconds left in the ball game, allowing the Golden Coolers to come as close as 2 points; 70-68, threatening an overtime.

However, Jamon was at the right place to score a basket to push the Voyagers to a 4-point lead at 21.7 seconds in the game, forcing Rizal to take a breather to set their play up.

At the resumption of play, Don Reverente was found guilty of fouling Lacastesantos and sending him to the free throw line to convert a point, 13.3 seconds left to tally in a 72-69 score.

Rizal still attempted to shoot a basket as the buzzer sounds but it missed, handing the victory over to Pasay, much to the delight of their home crowd.

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