Knights open defense with close shave
The San Juan Knights responded the way champions should at the start of their Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League title defense.
Pushed all the way by the retooled Bacoor Strikers, the Knights showed their championship mettle to come away with a pulsating 77-76 victory late Friday night in the MPBL Lakan Season at Strike Gym in Bacoor City.
“The championship experience goes a long way for us,” Mike Ayonayon, who finished with a game-high 22 points, said in Filipino. “We understand that we have a target on our backs this season being defending champions. But we’re more equipped to face the pressure because we played in the finals just last month.”
Ayonayon silenced the home crowd by sinking a 15-foot jumper with 20 seconds remaining for a 76-74 lead.
But after a Larry Rodriguez split at the foul line, the Strikers still had a chance to tie the game when RJ Ramirez was fouled while shooting a three.
Ramirez, however, missed the last of his three foul shots.
In another game, Bulacan stunned Cebu, 75-71.
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