Expansion teams Basilan Steel and Cebu City Sharks were both seeking their first franchise win on Thursday, but it was the former who emerged victorious, 86-76, in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Datu Cup.
Powered by bruising forward Dennis Daa’s 25 points and 5 rebounds, the Mindanao-based ballers fought tooth-and-nail against a very game Cebu squad, who kept the game close up until the closing minutes of the game.
Cebu’s trio of Patrick Cabahug, William McAloney and Raffy Octobre conspired for a combined total of 45 markers, but Daa and Macky Acosta’s crucial baskets down the stretch put the game out of reach.
The Steel improved its record to 1 win and 2 losses, while the Sharks are now one of three teams – the other two being Pasig and Rizal – to remain winless in its first three contests.
–Daa had plenty of help in the scoring department for Basilan, as Clark Bautista contributed 17 points, while fellow sweet-shooting bigs Acosta and Jojo Tangkay added 13 and 12, respectively.
–The reserves played a huge role in Basilan’s breakthrough win, edging their counterparts 54-41 in total points made.
–Both teams shot bricks from the great beyond, with Basilan going 7/22 (31%) and Cebu 6/26 (23%).
–Basilan made up for it by converting most of their opportunities from the charity stripe, making 27/34 foul-line shots for a respectable 79 percent clip. Cebu made more than half of their attempts, finishing 12/23 (52%) as a team.
–Ex-PBA enforcer Jondan Salvador gobbled up the glass for Sharks on his way to a 14-rebound night, and also managed to stay out of foul trouble this time around.
–Cebu moved the ball better and finished with 17 assists, compared to Basilan’s 13.
–Basilan will look to continue its new found winning ways against the Pampanga Lanterns on July 25 at the Bulacan Capitol Stadium, while Cebu will look to bounce back against the Manila Stars on July 24 at the Cuneta Astrodome.