MPBL: Bicol fights back from 19 points down before outlasting Muntinlupa

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INTERNAL turmoil has been evident when the Bicol Volcanoes started losing.

But on Friday night, the Volcanoes picked each other up and collectively got the job done for the second straight game.

Ronjay Buenafe and Jerome Garcia scattered 14 points apiece while Alex Nueva played quality minutes and contributed 12 as they powered the Volcanoes to a hard-earned 90-87 win over they Muntinlupa Cagers right at the latter’s home court.

“Dalawang bagay lang naman ang pwedeng mangyari, sabi ko sa mga players ko. Either high morale sila or low morale dahil nagpalit sila ng coach,” Bicol coach Monel Kallos told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview. “Nakita namin na high morale sila.”

True enough, the Cagers jumped the gun early and raced to a 19-point lead at one point, 40-21.

The LCC Mall-backed Volcanoes played with much urgency in the second half and a dizzying 15-3 run in the fourth period capped by Garcia’s three-point basket gave the team a 79-75 lead with still 4:19 left in the match.

Down the stretch, Chris Lalata split his charities with 17 seconds left to give Bicol an 89-87 lead, but there’s still an opportunity for Muntinlupa to the game or grab the lead with a three-point basket.

Biboy Enguio saw an opening and drove hard to the basket, but missed the layup as Ronjay Buenafe grabbed the rebound and was fouled a few seconds later.

Buenafe split his charities while Enguio’s three-point shot at the other end failed to hit the mark, allowing Bicol to notch its seventh win in 12 games to move up to the sixth spot of the southern division of this tournament.

“Maraming mga issues na nangyayari sa amin nung natatalo kami, pero ordinaryo naman yan  kapag natatalo. Pintunayan namin na kaya naming itayo ulit yung team. Kailangan lang naming pagtulungan,” added Kallos.

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