Davao Occi Tigers snatch one in Batangas, edge Athletics in battle of MPBL heavyweights

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BATANGAS CITY — The Davao Occidental Tigers came all the way to the Batangas City Coliseum with only one thing in mind: win and learn more ahead of the playoffs of the MPBL Datu Cup.

Steady games from Eman Calo and Joseph Terso and big stops down the stretch allowed the Tigers to preserve a tense 71-70 win over the home team Athletics late Saturday night.

Calo outsprinted the Athletics guards off a transition play to score the go-ahead basket, 71-70, in the last 20 seconds of the game.

Earlier, Celso hit a cold-blooded triple from deep right, but the Tanduay-backed Athletics responded quickly with a Jhaymo Eguilos bucket at the other end and put Batangas on top for the last time, 70-69, with less than a minute left.

Since then, the Athletics were not able to execute their offense properly as they missed their last four attempts, including two air ball attempts from Val Acuna and a misfired shot from Jeff Viernes that hit nothing but the sideboard.

“We’re not concerned about our standings now, but we’re more concerned about our execution. This win against Batangas will toughen us up ahead of the playoffs. It’s a good learning experience for us,” Davao Occidental coach Don Dulay told FOX PH.

Following its latest win, the Cocolife-backed Davao Occidental squad improved its win-loss record to 18-4 to firm up its hold of the solo lead in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

The loss saw Batangas City dropping to fourth place with a 13-10 win-loss record in the southern division of this tournament also being supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.

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