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Despite coach's late health concerns, Imus pips Mindoro

An Imus team official checks out at Coach Manny Torralba's condition. Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas/MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Imus did not let a late drama at their bench get the better of them as they held off Mindoro for a 77-70 win in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Things looked gloomy for the Bandera early in the fourth quarter when Head Coach Manny Torralba fainted on their bench following an argument with a referee.

He was quickly rushed to the nearby San Juan De Dios Hospital.

Assistant Coach Bang Tumapat, who took over the coaching reins down the stretch, later revealed that his childhood friend suffered some complications pertaining to diabetes.

"Bumaba yung [blood] sugar niya. Coach Manny is diabetic. Siguro too much pressure, merong nakaing hindi maganda. Kaya he needs to rest," Tumapat said after the game.

Ian Melencio, adjudged as the Best Player of the Game, then recalled that it has been the case even during practices and in some other moments in-game.

"Every time na nagko-coach siya, kapag nagagalit siya, pinapakalma namin siya. Ayaw naming may masamang mangyari sa kanya," said Melencio, who exploded for 20 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the win.

The effects of missing Torralba late in the game appeared to have struck Imus as Mindoro crawled to within four, 68-72, with 1:32 left in the game.

But Melencio and Leo Najorda scored the needed baskets to put the game away for the Bandera.

Najorda top-scored for the now 3-0 Imus squad with 21 points alongside five rebounds and one steal off the bench.

Jhaymo Eguilos put up a double-double of 16 points on 7-of-10 field goals and 12 rebounds with two assists and one steal.

Ryusei Koga fired 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists for Mindoro, which fell to 2-1 in Pool D play.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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