BIÑAN, LAGUNA—Preseason champion Davao Occidental used its experience to the hilt in outlasting Imus, 75-71, and make its presence felt quickly in the MPBL Datu Cup Thursday night at the Alonte Sports Complex.
The Tigers got big games from their ex-pros led by Billy Robles and newly acquired players Mark Yee and Leo Najorda to survive a gutsy Bandera team.
Robles, recruited in the off season from Rain or Shine, finished with 15 points nine rebounds and three steals.
Yee and Najorda, two other former PBA players, added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while ex-Kia cager Bogs Raymundo contributed 10 for the Tigers.
Davao Occidental, which is being sponsored by Cocolife, posted its biggest lead at 38-24 in the latter part of the second period, but Imus fought back in the third, holding its rival to only 12 markers, setting up an exciting wind up.
Down the stretch, however, the Tigers, behind their seasoned veterans, took advantage on their younger counterparts as Yee, Najorda, Custodio and Robles combined forces to hold off the GLC Truck and Equipment-backed Bandera.
“Good thing I have some veterans, who could pull out a game for me. But like I’ve said, we’ve got a lot to work on,” said head coach Don Dulay.