For awhile, Caloocan looked like a boxer reeling on the ropes and another possible knockdown looked imminent.
But the Supremos fought their way back and found a way to win in the process by pulling off a gripping 78-72 squeaker at the expense of the Pasay Voyagers in the MPBL Lakan Season at the Caloocan Sports Complex Tuesday night.
It took a heart to heart pep talk inside the locker room to wake up the Supremos, who responded to the coach’s call to play with a sense of urgency.
“Sa locker room kanina nagsisisigaw ako, tinanong ko, ‘sino ang gustong maglaro?.’ Lahat sila nagtaas ng kamay. Sumagot sila, ‘Coach, ibibigay namin ito sa iyo’,” said Caloocan coach John Kallos.
Fired up by the coach’s words, the Supremos collectively put together their best effort in overcoming an 11-point, second quarter deficit.
For a seven-minute stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters, the Supremos held their rivals without a field goal and that resulted to a backbreaking 14-1 run, allowing the Victory Liner-backed Caloocan to take a 62-49 lead of JM Gonzales’ two free throws with still 6:40 left.
There was one lonely stretch, though, where the Supremos nearly suffered an endgame meltdown and the Voyagers took advantage by responding with a swift 19-7 as Axel Iñigo, Jan Jamon and Dhon Reverente combined forces and shoved their team within striking distance, 69-68, 3:13 left.
Pasay was able to threaten for the last time after Reverente completed a three-point play off a foul from Gonzales to put his team within 73-72 with still 1:34 left, but Almond Vosotros, the most dangerous man in Caloocan’s line up, played the fireman’s role by burying a clutch trey that set the tone for the Supremos’ big endgame finish.
“Hindi na puwedeng maulit yung mga nangyari sa past games namin. Sana natuto kami,” added Kallos. “May meltdown na naman, pero I have to give credit to the boys, para sa kanila itong panalo. They were tough and they were mentally and physically prepared. Ang saya namin.”
Vosotros led the way with 22 points while Paul Sanga added 15. Rene Pacquiao produced 10 as Caloocan scored 34 points from inside the paint, 20 more than its counterpart.
The Supremos’ bench players also reigned supreme over the Voyagers, scoring 66 compared to only 38 for their rivals.