Davao Occidental Cocolife Tigers quickly bounced back to life after a sorry loss by throwing its might against host team Marikina Shoe Masters, 80-68, in the second phase of the elimination of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup recently at Marist School Gym in Marikina City.
The Mindanao team of owner Claudine Bautista backed by Cocolife president Elmo Nobleza, FVP Joseph Ronquillo and AVP Rowena Asnan, tightened its grip on top of team standings in the south division with a 16-4 record, while the Shoe Masters skidded further to 7-10, needing to win their remaining matches to stay in contention for the next stage..
The Tigers’ offensive thrusts, led by the game’s Best Player in former pro, veteran Leo Najorda, Mark Yee, Billy Robles and Bonbon Custodio, took control of the game in the early goings, building a double-digit advantage in third quarter.
The Marikeños staged an uprising, led by ex- pro Jondan Salvador, but were easily foiled by the defense of big man Bogs Raymundo inside the paint and homegrown Emman Calo and Joseph Terso at the backcourt as the Cocolife Tigers notched its 16th victory in 20 outings.
“Our one-point setback against GenSan motivated us to go all out in this game and my teammates responded very well,” Tigers’ leading scorer Najorda said.
The victory, according to team manager Ray Alao, set their focus in making it to the finals and their mission of winning the championship.