Reigning southern division champions Davao Occidental Tigers encountered a stiff opposition as rival Bataan Risers put up one good show.
The Tigers, however, banked on their experience to outlast their up and coming rivals, 83-75, and picked up their sixth-straight win in the MPBL Lakan Season. The win put them on solo first in the southern division of this league.
“We really need this,” Davao Occidental coach Don Dulay told FOX Sports Philippines. “We were really looking forward to this game. It’s a really good team, well-coached. We really need this game to see where we’re at. The last time we played as competitive as this one was against Bacoor. We prepared well for them. Their record doesn’t speak at how good they really are.”
True enough, the Tigers were pushed to the limit by the Jong Uichico-mentored Risers led by Alvin Pasaol, Anton Asistio, mainstays Byron Villarias, and Alfred Batino and ex-pros Jai Reyes and Chito Jaime.
James Forrester knocked in 19 points, including a huge triple in the 5:43 mark that gave the Tigers a 71-65 lead.
Mark Yee had another double-double performance, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. An MVP candidate last season, Yee stepped up to the challenge, scoring seven points in the final quarter.
The 6-foot-3 forward scored a layup then hit a backbreaking trey in the 2:39 mark of the final quarter that gave Davao Occidental a 76-72 lead.
Davao Occidental’s defensive prowess was also evident as it held Bataan without a field goal in the last three minutes of the game, which keyed the win for the Tigers, who now improved their win-loss record to 8-1.