STRANGE things are happening in the MPBL Datu Cup and on Tuesday night, the Rizal Crusaders-Xentro Mall pulled off a king-size upset over powerhouse San Juan, 85-77, at the Henry Noble Gymnasium inside the Trinity University of Asia.
The Knights missed a total of 19 free throws and that cost them their second loss in 10 games.
For Rizal, San Juan was a big fish, but head coach Braulio Lim summed up the team’s victory to an even more significant meaning.
“Nagbunga yung paghihirap namin. Actually, yung sinabi ko sa kanila, hindi tayo nagpunta sa game para i-survive lang yung game. Andito tayo para manalo,” Lim told FOX Sports Philippines.
Marco Balagtas finished with 15 points, Mark Benitez added 11 and Eric dela Cuesta chipped in 10 for the Crusaders, who improved their win-loss record to 4-7.
Rizal held San Juan to its least productive performance this season as the 77-point output was the lowest scored by the Knights. The Crusaders outrebounded the Knights, 54-39, as the lowly-ranked squad showed its complete domination over its more fancied rival.
“Malaking bagay ito. Dahil sa panalo namin, rerespetuhin kami lalo ng mga teams,” added Lim. “To our families, we hope we made you proud.”
The Knights felt the absence of ex-PBA scoring champion Mac Cardona, who served a one game suspension.