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Bacolod rallies from 16 down, sneaks past Bacoor City

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Bacolod pulled off a huge comeback from 16 points down but still had to escape a wild ending to beat Bacoor City, 73-71, in Pool A play of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday night.

Down 23-39 late in the second quarter, the All-Star Ballers suddenly turned the tides in the third quarter, outscoring the Strikers, 27-12 to turn a 31-43 halftime deficit to a 58-55 lead.

Bacolod would continue the rampage in the final frame, stretching its lead to as high as eight, 68-60, with less than six minutes left.

But Bacoor City fought back with a 9-0 run to retake the lead, 69-68, with 3:55 to go, and the team was on the track of holding on.

However, JK Casino completed a three-point play with 28.4 seconds to go that placed the Ballers back on top, 72-71.

They then forced Mark Doligon to a tough three-point attempt that did not even hit the rim.

Casino, however, kept the door open for the Strikers to at least force overtime as he only converted a split from the free-throw line for the two-point cushion with 6.8 seconds left.

Rocky Acidre missed a right-wing triple that could have won it for Bacoor City, but Bacolod failed to secure the rebound, leaving 1.6 seconds for Bacoor City to try its luck again.

Doligon had a chance to send the game to overtime, but his right elbow jumper missed the mark as time expired.

Ichie Altamirano led Bacolod, which joined Iloilo at the top of Pool A after Day 1 with identical 1-0 slates, with 12 points, five rebounds, one assist, and three steals off the bench.

Casino added nine points, two rebounds, eight assists, and one steal.

Richard Albo put up 20 points, five boards, three dimes, and two steals, while Doligon had 19 markers, 11 caroms, and three assists.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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