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MPBL: CJ Catapusan drains game-winner as Iloilo stuns Bacoor City in playoff 1st round opener

Renzo Navarro had an impressive point-assist double-double to lead Iloilo to an upset against Bacoor City on the road. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

BACOOR--CJ Catapusan shocked virtually everyone at the Bacoor City Strike Gymnasium--even MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes himself--as he lifted eighth-seeded Iloilo past top-seeded Bacoor City, 89-86, in Game 1 of their South Division first-round playoff series on Saturday night.

Catapusan, a member of the UP Fighting Maroons' UAAP champion team in Season 84 last year, drained a buzzer-beating triple that silenced the Strikers' home crowd as the United Royals completed a comeback from 23 points down to go 1-0 up in their best-of-three series.

Bacoor City waxed hot in the first half to the delight of its fans, dropping 31 points on Iloilo in the first quarter before opening a 20-point halftime lead that would become 23 after Jhan Nermal hit a three to start the third period.

However, Iloilo closed the third with a 32-6 run to open a 69-66 entering the fourth.

The game became tight in the fourth quarter, but the Strikers eventually regained the lead, 85-84, with 2:06 to play.

Shaq Imperial put the United Royals back up, 86-85, after a pull-up jumper with 1:15 left.

Chito Jaime had a chance to put Bacoor City back up, but he could only make a split from the line with seven seconds left and the game was tied, 86-all.

Aware that the home team still had a foul to give, Catapusan caught them off guard and quickly unleashed a two-dribble pull-up that hit the glass first before going in.

Renzo Navarro led Iloilo with 16 points, three rebounds, 14 assists, and one assist, Josh Flores added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Omar Larupay chipped in 10 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists.

Nermal and James Kwekuteye each scored 23 points for Bacoor City, which is now on the verge of a shock early playoff exit with another loss next Saturday in Game 2 at the Vitaliano Agan Coliseum in Zamboanga City.

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