|The Tigers will live to fight another day. MPBL|
By Dugout Philippines
LAMITAN CITY -- The South kings live to fight another day.
Top seed Davao Occidental-Cocolife escaped third-ranked Basilan-Jumbo Plastic, 81-76, to force a Game Three in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South Division Finals, Wednesday at the Lamitan City Gym here in Basilan.
Knotted at 74-all after an Allyn Bulanadi basket with 1:33 left in the game, Billy Ray Robles answered with a booming left-wing triple to give Davao a 77-74 edge before Bulanadi scored another deuce.
But with 56.2 ticks left, Tigers guard Bonbon Custodio forced a switch, taking an isolation play against Steel big man Jay Collado as the former drained a bank shot in front of the burly center, 79-76.
In the ensuing play, Bulanadi airballed a three-pointer as the ball slipped at his hands before Mark Yee iced the game from the stripe.
"We were doing good but Basilan is bound to come back. They are big shotmakers. But our guys fought tonight with our backs against the wall and I can't be more proud," said Davao coach Don Dulay.
With the Tigers ahead entering the payoff period, 64-55, Jhaps Bautista took over for Basilan. He drilled four three-pointers and had an assist to put the Steel up, 69-65 with 4:31 left.
"We have pretty tough defenders on our side. It's always a team effort and not just rely on Eman, Mocon, Billy. It has to be always a team effort," Dulay added.
Eman Calo led Davao with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals while Richard Albo was a revelation off the bench with 14 markers on 5-of-8 shooting.
Bautista tallied 24 points, six boards and four dimes for Basilan while Jay Collado had 21 markers and eight rebounds.
The winner-take-all rubber match will be on Saturday in Davao.
Davao Occidental 81 -- Calo 17, Albo 14, Mocon 10, Custodio 8, Robles 7, Yee 7, Terso 6, Balagtas 4, Saldua 4, Gaco 2, Ludovice 1, Forrester 1.
Basilan 76 -- Bautista 24, Collado 21, Bulanadi 7, Balucanag 7, Gabo 6, Dumapig 5, Dagangon 2, Bringas 2, Uyloan 2, Manalang 0, Palencia 0, Daa 0.
Quarterscores: 15-18, 36-37, 64-55, 81-76.
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