BATANGAS CITY – The Batangas City Tanduay Athletics kept its MPBL Lakan Season title campaign alive by beating Zamboanga at home, 84-75, at the Batangas State University gym here Friday night.
The win allowed Batangas to tie their best-of-five playoff first-round series at 1 win apiece.
Batangas City came alive in the second and the third quarters, outscoring Zamboanga, 44-21, to turn an 18-23 deficit into a 62-44 lead entering the fourth.
Zamboanga tried to steal the game, but the team could only come to as close as eight.
“Zamboanga is a strong team. Babalik at babalik at babalik ‘yan. So suwerte kami na na-sustain namin yung [lead] (They will come back over and over and over again. So we were lucky to sustain our lead),” Batangas City head coach Woody Co said.
Jhaymo Eguilos paced Batangas City with 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and one steal.
Jason Melano added 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, while Santi Santillan made 23 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and one steal for Zamboanga.
Robin Roño scored 20 markers, three boards, three dimes, and three steals.
In the first game, Bicol forced its own playoff series against Davao Occidental to sudden death with an 84-81 win.
Essentially playing at home too, the Volcanoes came alive in the fourth quarter, dropping 30 points on the Tigers, who dearly missed Mark Yee down the stretch due to an ankle injury he got before halftime.
Bicol broke through with a game-turning 8-0 run that shattered a 69-all deadlock.
Davao Occidental had a chance to force overtime after Alwyn Alday failed to close out the win with a split from the free-throw line, but Eman Calo missed a potential game-tying triple before time expired.
The work is not yet done for the Volcanoes as they just sent the series back to the PetroGazz Arena in Davao City for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
“Napakahirap talunin ng powerhouse team. Pero still, kailangan naming mag-trabaho. Kailangan naming trabahuhin kasi gusto naming manalo. Sabi ko kailangan naming trabahuhin hanggang dulo (It is very difficult to beat a powerhouse team. But still, we need to work because we want to win. I told them that we should work until the end),” Bicol head coach Monel Kallos said.
Alday pumped in 18 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals for Bicol.
Jerome Garcia also had 18 markers built on five three-pointers along with five boards and three assists, while Ronjay Buenafe tallied 14 points, eight assists, and four rebounds.
Hafer Mondragon, meanwhile, chipped in a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Calo paced Davao Occidental with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.
Billy Robles had 13 points and six boards while Chester Saldua added 12 points and five rebounds.
MPBL is the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. (PNA)