Bacoor – Gab Banal had a breakout performance and the Bacoor Strikers won their second straight game by outlasting the Navotas Clutch, 81-75, in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Strike Gymnasium here.
The son of multi-titled champion player and coach Joel Banal erupted for a career-high 30 points and pulled down 10 boards as his double-double effort powered the Strikers to their sixth win in 10 games in a tie with the Laguna Heroes-Krah in third place of the team standings.
But by virtue of the win-over-the-other rule, the Strikers carry a more superior tiebreak score.
The loss was the sixth in 10 games for the Clutch, who lost back-to-back games. Navotas started the season with a 2-0 record, but has struggled ever since right after losing big man Rey Publico due to a knee injury as well as internal conflict with some of the players.
Banal, one of the top five scorers in the league, averaging close to 20 points per game, has returned a better player right after representing the country in two international tournaments.
Earlier, Parañaque also picked up its second straight win by dumping lowly Pasig, 87-69, in the other game.
The F2 Logistics-backed Patriots turned to ex-pro Harold Arboleda, who went an assist shy from posting a triple-double performance, while steering his squad in notching its sixth win in 11 games of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former league MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Arboleda finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in what was another MVP-type performance. He got solid backing from Robin Roño, who added 22 markers as their productive games helped Parañaque in shooting a steady 53-percent clip from the field.
The Pirates absorbed their ninth loss in 10 games--the tournament’s worst record.