For the second straight game, the Muntinlupa Cagers had to scramble for a win but their struggle was all worth it.
On Tuesday night, the Angelis Resort-backed Cagers drew big games from Ryusei Koga, GJ Ylagan and Jamil Ortouste, keeping a hold of their team and lifting their squad to an 87-78 triumph over the Parañaque Patriots-Yabo Sports at the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo.
Koga and Ylagan had 22 points apiece while Ortouste came off the bench and added 19, as the Cagers improved their win-loss record to 2-4.
Koga showed up and played one of his better games against his former team. He broke down the Patriots’ pressing defense while efficiently setting up his teammates, dishing out six assists while hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field.
Ylagan and Ortouste played the firemen’s role for the Cagers.
Relegated to playing a major role this season, Ylagan knocked in six treys while Koga hit four. As a team, Muntinlupa hit 13-of-31 shots from beyond the arc for a steady 41-percent shooting.
Parañaque lost for the fourth time in six games. The loss came sans head coach Mike Saguiguit, who was currently coaching the Perpetual Help Junior Altas in the NCAA on the same day.
Ylagan was a game changer, particularly in the third period, when the Patriots were about to break the game wide open.
Trailing 54-49, Ylagan hit back-to-back triples while Ortuoste had two free throws. Koga then converted on a lay up that sparked a 10-2 wind up to end the third period and give Muntinlupa a 58-56 lead.
Ortuoste then took charge in the fourth period. He shattered the game’s final deadlock with a trey in the 4:38 mark, as Muntinlupa held Parañaque without a field goal in a five minute stretch to turn things around.
The Cagers won despite losing head coach Ritchie Melencio, who was called for his second technical foul in the last 1:25 of the match.