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Davao Occ zeroes in on top seed of MPBL South with win over Nueva Ecija

Bonbon Custodio led the way for the Tigers. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Davao Occidental moved closer to sealing the top seed in the MPBL Southern Division with an 86-79 win over Nueva Ecija at the STRIKE Gym in Bacoor on Monday night.

The Tigers slowly took control of the game in the first three quarters and looked to pull away after opening a 12-point lead, 73-61, with 4:49 left in the game.

The Rice Vanguards launched a comeback bid after going on a 9-3 run to trim the lead to three, 76-73, with 1:25 to go, but a triple from Mark Yee and a layup from Joseph Terso sealed the Tigers' victory.

Despite Davao Occidental's win, Coach Don Dulay appreciated Nueva Ecija's gallant stand all game long.

"Nueva Ecija is not the same team in the beginning. I told my guys that they might have a bad record but they have that fight in them," said Dulay.

Yee and Bonbon Custodio each made 16 points for the Tigers, who moved up to 24-4. Yee completed a double-double with 11 rebounds.

Billy Robles also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds with one assist, one steal, and one block.

Zags Gonzaga fired 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting with three rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while Maclean Sabellina added 14 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal for the Rice Vanguards, who ended their season at 10-20.

The Scores:

Davao Occidental-Cocolife 86 - Yee 16, Custodio 16, Terso 14, Robles 12, Mocon 8, Saldua 7, Calo 7, Raymundo 4, Gaco 2, Balagtas 0, Ludovice 0.

Nueva Ecija 79 - Gonzaga 23, Sabellina 14, Sarao 10, Arana 10, J. Reyes 7, Martinez 6, Dela Cruz 4, Monte 3, G. Reyes 2, Belasco 0, Celada 0.

Quarterscores: 19-16, 44-39, 62-55, 86-79.

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