Defensive gem keys Tigers’ Game 1 nipping of Knights | Inquirer Sports

Defensive gem keys Tigers’ Game 1 nipping of Knights

/ 05:15 AM March 19, 2021

SUBIC—Billy Robles foiled a drive by Mike Ayonayon at the crunch as the Davao Occidental Tigers preserved a come-from-behind 77-75 overtime victory over the San Juan Knights on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in their Chooks-to-Go MPBL National Finals faceoff at Subic Bay Gym.

Mike Yee took charge of the offense for the Tigers with five points in the extra period as Davao Occidental completed a rally from as many as 11 points down in the third period to take psychological control of the best-of-five series.


With Davao ahead, 76-75, Ayonayon, San Juan’s go-to-guy, elevated for an inside thrust only for the shot to be thwarted by Robles.

“We poured it all to win,” said Yee, fully recovered from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury he suffered before the MPBL took a forced break due to COVID-19. He was named best player after finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds.


Davao coach Don Dulay could only heave a sigh of relief as the Tigers clawed their way back from a 57-65 deficit with only 3:05 to go.

“It was a big challenge,” said Dulay. “We never had a tune-up game and we just go hard on practices. But it still isn’t the same. My team came ready to play.”

Eman Calo also scored 15 points for the Tigers while Robles had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Ayonayon, already an NLEX Road Warrior who rejoined the Knights for the Finals, fired a game-high 27 points.

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TAGS: Basketball, Chooks-to-Go MPBL National Finals, Davao Occidental Tigers, San Juan Knights
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