IMUS – There’s a new “Mr. Clutch” in the MPBL – and his name is Orly Daroya of the Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment.
The torrid-shooting swingman hit six-of-eight triples on his way to finishing with a career-high 29 points while powering the Bandera to a come-from-behind 70-67 triumph over a tough Navotas Clutch-Big J Sports in the Anta-Rajah Cup at the Imus Sports Complex here late Saturday night.
Daroya capped his long-game brilliance with a buzzer-beating triple, sending Imus crowd in a frenzy while lifting the Bandera to their second straight win and their first at home.
With only 1.6 seconds left in the clock, Imus coach Jerry Codinera designed a quick-hitting play, with no less than Daroya receiving the ball.
“We had a quick pin down play. There’s an option for the shooter and there’s also an option for slip. Credit to Mikee (Cabahug), he made a good pass to Orly,” said Imus coach Jerry Codinera.
Daroya’s last basket was like a dagger struck right through the hearts of the Clutch, who lost their second straight game. They also lost a tough one at home against another lowly-ranked team in Bataan last Tuesday.
Imus gave Daroya a rock star treatment shortly after sending his team to victory it overshadowed Bulacan’s victory over Batangas City.
The Ligo Sardines-backed Kuyas dealt the Tanduay-sponsored Athletics their first loss of the tournament as PBA legend Marlou Aquino turned back the hands of time in sending Bulacan to an 80-72 win earlier.
“Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda,” said Bulacan coach Chris Baluyot on the performance of the 45-year-old center, who played for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, the Sta. Lucia Realtors and the Barako Bull Energy. “Talagang nageensayo yan once or twice before the game. Usually,nag-iensayo yan, three days before or four days before. Pero ngayon, tyinaga niya, nagsabi siya sa akin na gusto niyang makatulong sa team. Yung puso niya, tuwing may opportunity, andun pa rin naman yung laro niyan. Talagang kapag nagkaroon ng pagkakataon at isang magandang play lang makakatulong yan. Malaking impact ang magiging laro ng Bulacan dahil kay Marlou,” added Baluyot.
For the fans who stayed there past 11 in the evening, Daroya’s game-winning bucket was something to cherish.
Entering the final quarter, the Bandera were trailing 58-44, then Daroya sparked the team’s run with a triple and Imus scored the next 12 points to tie the game for the first time in the 4:49 mark off a basket from Daroya.
Daroya would score the Bandera’s last 12 points, including the buzzer-beating trey.