Iloilo bows to Davao Occidental at home

Iloilo was unsuccessful for the second straight time in their home turf (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Another loss, another heartbreaker.

Experience proved to be the difference-maker as Davao handed Iloilo a crushing defeat in front of their home crowd in the Passi City Arena, 89-76.

Unfazed by the home-court advantage and the wild cheers from the Ilonggos, veterans Mark Yee and Bonbon Custodio led the team with their grit and experience.

Iloilo started the game well as their signature run-and-gun style proved effective, allowing them easy baskets in transition to finish the first quarter with a 22-16 lead.

Coach Eric Gonzales again tinkered with his lineup and started veteran enforcer Eric Rodriguez to try and contain Davao’s star player Mark Yee.

In the second quarter Iloilo started to have problems with their offensive execution. To make things worse, Davao began to heat up on the other end. This resulted in Davao mounting a massive run to grab the lead and headed into the second half with a 32-45 score.

With the game starting to get out of hand, coach Gonzales of Iloilo leaned on his main guys to start the 2nd half. Iloilo would start hot as Al Francis Tamsi knocked down a three-pointer while getting fouled, resulting in a 4-point play. The play energized the team as they made a run of their own to eventually trim the lead down to just 3 points, 46-49.

The crowd went wild as they tried to lift their home team’s spirits to take over the lead, but Davao’s veterans showed poise and composure fitting of a top team, never panicking and just continued their steady play.

In the final quarter, Iloilo’s determination and never-say-die attitude put them behind only 1 point, 67-68, after a beautiful drive and kick from John Mahari to newly-acquired big man Mark Racho.

But Davao remained unfazed, even with the raucous Passi City Arena crowd against them. Relying on the leadership of their veterans, Davao seemed to just make the right plays to keep Iloilo at arm’s length to bring the lead back up to 67-78.

Ex-pro Yee won player of the game honors after chipping in 23 big points and grabbing 16 boards.


Box score:

Davao- Yee 23, Ludovice 13, Custodio 12, Balagtas 11, Robles 8, Raymundo 8, Saldua 5

Iloilo- Escoto 19, Tamsi 15, Mahari 12, Arambulo 8, Jeruta 6, Publico 4, Parker 4