Brilliant Bulanadi leads Basilan to South finals against Davao
Basilan Steel waited a long time for Allyn Bulanadi to suit up in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season.
In a series of scintillating sequences last Saturday night, the lefty gunslinger from Davao City showed why he was worth the wait.
With their season on the line, Bulanadi delivered one of the finest individual performances in league history, firing a career-best 35 points as the Steel overcame the Bacoor Strikers, 84-76, to reach the South division finals for the first time. Heckled no end by the Bacoor crowd after he was involved in the incident that led to the injury of Strikers star Gab Banal in Game 1, the Gilas cadet came up with a fitting response, knocking down three straight triples from different spots to push Basilan ahead, 80-71, with 91 seconds remaining.
“I wanted to thank the crowd here in Bacoor,” Bulanadi said. “Because they were cheering against us, I was hungrier, I was more motivated.”
Basilan coach Jerson Cabiltes never lost faith in Bulanadi even when he was struggling in some playoff games.
“I think this game showed why he is in the Gilas program,” Cabiltes said. “That kid is all heart. He hit the biggest shots in this game.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Basilan as Bulanadi returns home to Davao to face reigning champion Davao Occidental Tigers in another best-of-three series for a national finals spot starting on Monday at RMC Gym in Davao City.
“I’m just extra motivated now because I’ll be playing in front of family,” Bulanadi said. INQ
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