Steel makes entire Basilan province proud in first MPBL win  

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BACOOR — Finally, a breakthrough for Basilan.

Armed with a mission of making the entire province of Basilan proud, the Steel upstaged the Cebu City Sharks, 86-76, for their first victory in the MPBL Datu Cup Thursday night at the Strike Gymnasium.

Dennis Daa was a picture of consistency all game long, pouring in 25 points and pulling down five rebounds, while Macky Acosta came off the bench and produced 13 points on a near perfect shooting from the field to carry Basilan to its first win in three games in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league in the country.

“This is a big win for the province of Basilan. Who could imagine Basilan will win in MPBL? Ibinigay naming lahat ito for Basilan,” said Basilan coach Joseph Romarate. “All the negative publicities for Basilan, and so on and so forth, I hope this will be the start of changing the image of Basilan. We are still winners”.

He added: “Dati pinaguusapan ang Basilan dahil sa giyera. Now, we can now think and hope peacefully. To the province of Basilan, we are still winners.”

Winning an MPBL game was in fact a long overdue for the Steel, the first ever sports team put up by this province, which is now recovering its way back after years of turmoil.

Basilan lost a heartbreaker against Valenzuela last week, but made sure they will come back stronger and poured out their emotions in beating another fellow team from the southern region of the country.

“Ang daming nangyari sa team. Madaming samaan ng loob,” added Romarate. “Ang daming nagsabing hindi namin kaya, na bobo ang coach, kalbo. But we stayed focus. Ang importante, progressing yung team. Aside from all those bashings, we stayed on and tried to be a family. We trusted each other. Wala nang sisihan.”

Basilan was only leading by four, 71-67, entering the final four-minute mark of the final quarter when Macky Acosta hit five straight points.

Acosta, a legitimate stretch four, hit a triple.  After seeing Raffy Octobre retaliate with his own trey, the 6-foot-4 forward responded with a lay up at the other end, giving the Steel a 76-70 lead.

Daa’s fall away jumper and two more free throws put away Cebu for good.
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