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Davao Occ sizzles in 2nd half to survive Bicol

Eman Calo and Yvan Ludovice exchange high fives. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Davao Occidental came alive in the second half to avert Bicol's major MPBL playoff upset with a 77-71 home win at the PetroGazz Arena in Davao City on Monday night.

Holding homecourt edge for the entire Southern Division Playoffs, the top-seeded Tigers found themselves on the wrong end of a potential upset by the eighth-seeded Volcanoes after the latter held the former to just 27 points in the first half while taking a nine-point lead at halftime.

But Davao Occ came alive in the third quarter, outscoring Bicol, 28-17, to take a 56-53 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Volcanoes stayed gallant, even retaking the lead, 58-57, early in the fourth, but the Tigers responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead for good, 64-57.

Bicol still put up a fight in the endgame, trimming the lead down to three, 74-71, with 24.8 seconds left, but Yvan Ludovice made three straight free throws to seal the Davao Occ win.

"It is playoff basketball. We have to be ready for that kind of situation where our opponent comes out aggressive. We were able to adjust in the second half and good thing we came out with the win," said Tigers coach Don Dulay.

Mark Yee posted 20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and one steal for Davao Occ, which can finish off Bicol on Friday night in Batangas City. Eman Calo added 18 points, three rebounds, and one steal off the bench.

Jerome Garcia made 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one steal, while Chris Lalata had 12 points, three rebounds, and one block for the Volcanoes.

The Scores:

Davao Occidental-Cocolife 77 - Yee 20, Calo 18, Robles 11, Ludovice 10, Mocon 6, Custodio 5, Saldua 4, Terso 3, Raymundo 0, Balagtas 0.

Bicol-LCC Stores 71 - Garcia 15, Lalata 12, Alday 11, Buenafe 10, Aldave 8, Guerrero 4, Ongteco 4, Lao 3, Mondragon 3, Manalang 1, Gusi 0, Salinas 0.

Quarterscores: 14-20, 27-36, 55-53, 77-71.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno