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San Juan successful in MPBL return after squeaker over Iloilo

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—San Juan made a successful return to the MPBL after escaping with a 75-73 home win against Iloilo on Monday night at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.

Fresh from a semifinal stint in the PSL Dumper Cup as the Kings, the Knights showed their championship contender poise in the end especially when the United Royals made things interesting in the fourth quarter.

Already on track to pulling away after holding a 64-52 lead after three quarters, San Juan found itself in trouble of dropping the intense battle after Iloilo drew to within one, 73-74, with 9.1 seconds left.

The Knights kept the door for the United Royals to not consider a three-pointer just yet as Orlan Wamar, a known steady free-throw shooter, could only go 1-for-2 from the foul line.

However, San Juan bounced back by putting a tight defense on Aldeo Lucero, who could not even pass the ball to an Iloilo teammate closer to the basket as the Visayan squad had to run the full length in the last 5.1 seconds because it has no more timeouts left.

Adrian Nocum fired 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting, five rebounds, one assist, and one block to lead the Knights, who gave Philip Cezar a win in his head coaching return with them.

Mike Calisaan and Joseph Marquez each added 10 points.

CJ Catapusan, who quickly signed with the United Royals after the Quezon Huskers waived him, fired 24 points on 8-for-13 field goals with 12 rebounds, two assists, and one block, but his explosion faltered as Iloilo dropped to 0-4 after yet another heartbreaker.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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