Expansion clubs Davao, Zamboanga triumph
Newcomers Davao Occidental and Zamboanga got their Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup campaigns off to a positive start after hacking out impressive victories Thursday night at Alonte Sports Complex in Biñan, Laguna.
Reed Juntilla summoned his old, fiery form, exploding for 30 points as the Valientes spoiled the home debut of the Laguna Krah Heroes, 86-80.
Juntilla, who briefly played for Barako Bull in the PBA, fired 12 points of his output in the final quarter, combining with Jonathan Parreno to stun the Heroes, who drew 26 points from veteran Denok Miranda.
Earlier, the Tigers of Davao Occidental leaned on Billy Robles, Leo Najorda and Mark Yee, to turn back Imus Bandera GLC Truck and Equipment, 75-71.
Picked up from Rain or Shine in the PBA, Robles, known in the south as the “Ilonggo Superman,” finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Yee and Najorda combined for 25 points.
But it wasn’t just the Tigers offense which proved to be decisive in the win over the Bandera.
Davao Occidental’s defense on Imus top gun Ian Melencio was a key to the Tigers’ win. The Bandera also didn’t get anything productive from new recruit Andre Paras, who was held scoreless in 12 minutes of action.
“I just thought we could have played better,” said Davao head coach Don Dulay. Good thing I have some veterans, who could pull out a game for me. But like I’ve said, we’ve got a lot to work on.”
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