Going hard: Mabulac helps Strikers prove they’re no softies
BACOOR CITY—A bruising playoff series with the General Santos Warriors last season in the MPBL made the Bacoor Strikers realize the immediate need for a veteran enforcer in their lineup.
Playing in his first playoff game for the Strikers, Michael Mabulac quickly showed why Bacoor wanted him to play that role.
“Having a guy with that level of strength, skill and the ability to lead the team is just great for us,” said Bacoor coach Chris Gavina after the 6-foot-4 Mabulac powered the No. 2 seed Strikers to an emphatic 95-72 win over the Warriors in Game 1 of their best-of-three South division quarterfinal series at a packed Strike Gym.
“Being part of this team meant you are in a family. We’re taught not to back down. We’re also taught to have each other’s back. Michael led the way for us in that aspect.”
Earlier, Basilan closed in on a second-round duel with Bacoor after turning back Iloilo, 83-68, at the start of their own series.
Bacoor and Gensan battled to a highly-physical series last season, which ended with Bacoor center King Destacamento needing surgery after he was hit on the nose.
A scuffle near the end of Game 2 won by Bacoor saw Gensan players Delmar Mahaling and Daryl Goloran get ejected for kicking on Mark Montuano and Roger Malig-on. The Gensan duo had to apologize to the Bacoor players a few days later.
Gavina said he had to remind his players to stay focused even in the heat of the physical battles in a clash that has now evolved into one of the rivalries in the league.
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