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Davao Occ nears MPBL title after closing out SJ

Billy Robles paced the Tigers with a solid first half. Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas/MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Davao Occidental moved to within a win from winning the MPBL title after holding off San Juan, 66-58, in Game 3 of the finals at the Subic Bay Gymnasium on Saturday.

The second quarter surge turned out to be enough for the Tigers as they took a pivotal 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

After yet another tight first quarter, Davao Occidental surged ahead in the second, outscoring San Juan, 26-13, to open a 41-27 halftime lead.

After a John Wilson split from the line to start the third, Mike Ayonayon scorched hot, going on an 11-1 run by himself to cut the lead down to three, 42-39, with 6:04 to go in the period.

Bon-Bon Custodio, however, responded with an 8-1 rally of his own lonesome to up the lead again to 10, 50-40, as the Tigers restored order late in the third quarter.

The Knights made one last push, trimming the lead again to three, 56-53, with 6:47 remaining in the final frame.

But huge three-pointers from Joseph Terso and Ken Mocon helped the Tigers close out the Knights in the end.

Billy Robles led Davao Occidental, which can clinch the series in Game 4 on Sunday, with 13 points, 10 in the first half, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, and four blocks.

Mocon added 11 points, three rebounds, and one steal off the bench.

Ayonayon paced San Juan, which now needs to win Game 4 to send the series to a rubber match on Monday, with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal off the bench.

The scores:

DAVAO OCCIDENTAL 66 – Robles 13, Mocon 11, Custodio 10, Yee 7, Gaco 7, Ludovice 6, Calo 6, Terso 3, Saldua 2, Balagtas 1

SAN JUAN 58 – Ayonayon 16, Wilson 12, Wamar 8, Rodriguez 6, Clarito 5, Isit 5, Reyes 4, Pelayo 2, Tajonera 0, Estrella 0, Gabawan 0, Marquez 0

Quarterscores: 15-14, 41-27, 52-42, 66-58

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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