By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
THE Iloilo United Royals outworked the Valenzuela SPV Top Marketplace in every facet of the game, outlasting them in their inter-division clash, 73-67, in the 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup.
The United Royals stepped on the gas early on as they looked for fastbreak opportunities at every turn. The fast-paced offence resulted to Valenzuela’s defense breaking down, causing numerous confusions as they scrambled to match-up.
Al Francis Tamsi was unconscious from the field early on as he dropped 8 points in 6 minutes, slicing through Valenzuela’s defense and knocking down two shots from deep.
Despite coach Eric Gonzales’ absence due to his suspension, assistant coach Nash Racela did a wonderful job of orchestrating Iloilo’s artillery, as he took advantage of their speed and exposed Valenzuela’s steady-paced style game.
Coach Racela’s decision to start point guard JR Parker proved to be effective for the Iloilo squad, as he broke down Valenzuela’s defense with his speed and excellent court vision, swinging the ball to open teammates on the wing after his penetration.
Iloilo’s pace became evident throughout the game, sprinting to the other end after every rebound.
The run-and-gun system of the team scored an impressive 13 points on fast break situations, compared to Valenzuela’s 3.
Paolo Hubalde tried to carry Valenzuela with his playmaking but fell short, finishing the game with 6 points, 3 boards, and 8 assists.
Escoto bagged another player of the game award, as he scored a game-high 20 points for Iloilo, to go along with his 5 boards and 2 dimes.
Iloilo climbed to number 6 in the South Division with an 8-5 record.
Iloilo- Escoto 20, Tamsi 18, Gumaru 9, Javelosa 8, Parker 8, Arambulo 4
Valenzuela- Ruaya 16, Gimpayan 10, Varilla 6, Hubalde 6, Diego 6, Mabigat 6