Marikina lead gunner Yves Sazon had already known prior to their MPBL/Chooks-to-Go Lakan Season match-up against Rizal-Xentro Mall that he can reach the 1000-point plateau in this game.
Sazon – who was averaging 22.2 points per game in the Shoemasters’ last nine outings – already had 980 points under his name.
The product of Philippine Christian University, however, was dead-set on giving his team a fitting end to a disastrous season. That is why he opted to stick to the team’s schemes and let the game come to him.
And after being patient all game long, the opportunity fell right into Sazon’s hands.
Marikina squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter as Rizal managed to snatch it off a layup from Howard Casajeros, 86-85, with 1:02 remaining in the game.
Franz Dysam rushed a two-point jump shot and missed on the other end. Ato Ular was able to crash the offensive board but muffed another opportunity for Marikina to take the lead.
Luckily for them, Sazon – who only needed a point to reach the 1K club – was right underneath the basket for the tip in which handed the Shoemasters a one-point advantage with 2.4 ticks left.
Joemari Lacastesantos tried to save Rizal, but Von Tambeling blocked his three-pointer to seal the deal for Marikina, 87-86, at the Caloocan Sports Complex, Wednesday.
“I had the feeling na makukuha niya e, I had the feeling din na baka siya nga ang mag wi-winning basket kasi naaasahan ‘yan kapag sa crucial e,” said Marikina head coach Elvis Tolentino, who is also Sazon’s mentor in PCU.
Sazon finished the game with 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists. And with his final basket this season that gave Marikina a winning exit in the MPBL, he became the second player in the league after John Wilson with 1000 points under his name.
“Masaya siyempre. Hindi ko inaasahan na pang panalo yung last shot na yung pang one thousand points ko. Iniisip ko lang naman maglaro ako, makatulong sa team, nung nalaman ko ‘di ko sinubukan i-reach e, kasi baka makaapekto sa game. Inaano ko lang na makatulong ako sa team,” shared Sazon.
In other games, Batangas City-Tanduay fended off the William McAloney-less Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol, 68-56, while Robby Celiz took over in the clutch to pull General Santos-Burlington to an 80-75 win over Nueva Ecija. Meanwhile, Caloocan-Victory Liner escaped Mindoro-JAC Liner, 93-90, in the nightcap.