Pasay Voyagers extend winning streak to 7 games after defeating Iloilo United Royals

By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

MANILA - The Pasay Voyagers recorded their 7th straight victory in the Lakan Season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League at the expense of the Iloilo United Royals, who played hosts in Thursday night's ball game, 56-52.

Off to a slow start, the Voyagers trailed as much as 5 points in the opening quarter, with playmaker Dhon Reverente struggling to score and committing turnovers instead.

Pasay were able to get their groove going as Elvin Chan scored a triple to cut their trail to only 3 points; 7-10 in the opening quarter.

However, just before the first quarter comes to a close, Chan, along with John Mahari were called for double unsportsmanlike foul, giving the United Royals the advantage as they gained the ball possession after the charities given to Mahari.

Much to the delight of the Ilonggo fans who are seeing their home team in action for the first time in their turf, the United Royals closed the first quarter with the a point advantage, scoring 15 points as against to Pasay's 14.

At the second quarter, Reverente's turnover spell continued as he opened the period with a foul against Jasper Parker who splits his free throw to give Iloilo a 16-14 lead.

While the United Royals kept their advantage to as much as 6 points, Axel Inigo's triple paved the way for the Voyagers to cut their trail to 3 points; 21-24.

But it was Jaypee Belencion's "homecoming" triple that gave the momentum for the Voyagers, as it gave them a 1-point lead, 28-27.

Jason Opiso closed the quarter with his game clock-beating put back off a miss shot by Inigo, giving Pasay a comfortable 3-point lead, 30-27, at halftime.

The second half became a nightmare for Iloilo as Pasay made a 9-0 run, leading as much as 12 points in the ball game, 27-39.

The tables also turned for Reverente as he scored back-to-back baskets for the Voyagers to secure their advantage, 46-33.

But Eric Rodriguez sparked a glimmer of hope for the United Royals as he sank a triple and later on scoring 2 out of 2 from the free throw line to cut their trail to just 9 points; 37-46.

Rodriguez was able to find help in the person of Ryan Arambulo, who scored back-to-back baskets for Iloilo to trail by only 5 points; 41-46 that seemed to rattle their visitors a bit that made them call for a time out.

Pasay went on to outshine Iloilo in the third period with Elmar Moradas scoring a basket and bringing the advantage back to 7 points, 48-41.

The United Royals attempted to spark a come back in the fourth period,  doing a 9-1 run that resulted to a 1-point trail by the home team against their visitors; 50-51, from a lead that is as high as 13 points.

Chan sank a massive three-pointer that gave the Voyagers a 4-point lead; 54-50 just before the final two minute mark of the game, but it turned out to be his last basket as he was called for another unsportsmanlike foul that resulted to his ejection from the game with 37.1 seconds left to play.

Chan's infraction sent Rodriguez at the line who splits his free throw, making it a 2-point trail for Iloilo; 52-54.

Inigo secured the lead for Pasay as he was fouled at the resumption of play, converting 2 points off the charities, closing the game out at 52-56.

Despite his struggle in the onset of the game, Reverente was named as the player of the game, finishing off with 8 points 12 rebounds and 2 assists.

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