PASIG—Rey Suerte showed nerves of steel, towing Batangas City-Tanduay to a tight 72-68 victory over Navotas-Unipak Sardines in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at the Ynares Sports Arena, Thursday.
Down by two points, Suerte fired a three-pointer from the left wing before fishing a foul off Navotas’ Kojack Melegrito which led to two free throws which gave Batangas a three-point advantage, 69-66, with 1:39 left in the game.
Osama Abdurasad’s lay-up with 39.4 seconds left trimmed the Athletics’ lead to one. However, Suerte once again came to Batangas’ defense, converting a trey on the same spot to push the lead back to four points, 72-68, with 16 seconds remaining.
Abdurasad missed a three-pointer while Jason Melano stole the ball off a pass from Joesel Prudente to seal the deal for the Athletics.
“We really need it sa standings and especially for the people of Batangas, atleast kahit papaano napa-smile namin sila. Kahit kaunti. [But] we’re still trying to figure out how to win,” said Batangas head coach Woody Co.
Suerte – who scored Batangas’ last eight points – finished the game with 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds for the Athletics, who are now in a three-way logjam in the fifth spot of the South Division with Iloilo and Zamboanga, possessing identical 16-11 cards.
Melano delivered 12 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, and a block while Ryusei Koga and Jeff Viernes chipped in 12 and 11 points in the victory.
Mark Guillen and Elmer Cabahug, meanwhile, led Navotas with 13 points apiece. The Unipak Sardines-backed squad dropped to a 7-21 standing in the North Division.
Batangas City-Tanduay (72) – Suerte 14, Melano 12, Koga 12, Viernes 11, Olivares 7, Grimaldo 5, Santos 4, Sara 3, Tungcab 3, Bragais 2, Rogado 0
Navotas-Unipak Sardines (68) – Guillen 13, Cabahug 13, Taywan 11, Gonzales 6, Melegrito 5, Bondoc 5, Abdurasad 5, Matillano 4, Andaya 4, Bautista 2, Evangelista 0, Prudente 0
Quarterscores: 17-10, 34-31, 51-58, 72-68
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