San Juan steals homecourt edge with smashing Game 1 road win vs Davao
North division champion San Juan torched Davao Occidental with its incredible shooting while putting the clamps on its gunners as the Knights hammered out an emphatic 84-74 victory Thursday night to grab the headstart in the MPBL Datu Cup national finals at Almendras Gym in Davao City.
Unrelenting even after a strong start, the Knights coasted to a wire-to-wire win as they stole homecourt advantage from the Tigers, who also suffered their first loss at home in nine games this season.
Another win in Game 2 of the best of five series at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Colleges Gym in Davao will put the Knights to within a win of the national title.
Game 3 of the series is set Tuesday at the Knights’ home floor, Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Knights shot an impressive 63 percent on the floor with ex pros John Wilson and Mac Cardona leading the way with 21 and 16 points respectively.
“Whatever we did tonight started with our defense,” said San Juan coach Randy Alcantara in Filipino. “We got really good shots because of our defense. We really focused on the ex pros in their team.”
Cebuano guard Eman Calo tallied a career high 27 points for the Tigers, but his effort went down the drain as starters Bonbon Custodio, Billy Robles and Leo Najorda combined for just 14 points.
Cardona, a former Finals MVP and Best Player of the Conference in the PBA, also finished with seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals as he helped silence the Davao crowd with big plays. The former La Salle star sparked the second quarter breakaway with seven points in a 12-1 burst that increased the lead, 47-29.
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