Pasay breaks Ilonggos’ hearts

Even the loudest cheers from the fans couldn’t boost the Royals’ attempt at a comeback (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Hundreds of Ilonggos flocked to the University of San Agustin gym to witness the Iloilo United Royals’ first-ever home game only to be left disappointed and empty.

The team opened the game to a raucous Iloilo crowd and played with great energy, jumping to an early lead. The pace went Iloilo’s way the first quarter as they were off to a blazing start, with Jay Javelosa and Richard Escoto controlling the paint to secure a handful of second-chance points.

In the second quarter, Pasay regained their footing as their shooters started to come alive, draining outside shots to quiet the crowd.

The second half spelled disaster for Iloilo as they got off to a slow start, Pasay quickly capitalized to extend their lead that reached double figures.

With his team losing spirit, coach Gonzales injected Eric Rodriguez into the lineup hoping to spark the Iloilo squad and regain some momentum. The move paid off big-time as Rodriguez provided tough interior defense leading to stops, all while knocking down a three-pointer and some free throws.

Ryan Arambulo was also a revelation for Iloilo, as the former PBA player played his best scoring output of the season with 12 points, adding 2 steals and a block.

As the game went down the wire, both teams tightened up on defense resulting to missed opportunities and bodies flying all over the court fighting for loose balls.

With shooting coming at a premium, Pasay maintained their edge as they knocked down timely threes down the stretch.

With less than a minute to go and their team down by two, Iloilo had a chance to tie the game at 54 but ended up committing a 24-second shot-clock violation which ultimately spelled their doom.

Alejandrino Iñigo then iced the game after making both shots from the charity stripe, sealing the win for Pasay.

Despite the loss, the Royals made the Ilonggo crowd proud as they played each possession with heart and passion.


Pasay- Moradas 12, Inigo 12, Belencion 8, Reverente 8, Chan 7, Ilagan 5

Iloilo- Arambulo 12, Parker 7, Escoto 7, Rodriguez 6, Gumaru 5, Jeruta 4