The MPBL Datu Cup best-of-five national finals' series shifts to San Juan for the next two games beginning Tuesday’s pivotal Game 3 at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Expect local fans to drive in full force to pack the venue, much like they did in Game 3 of the semifinal series against Manila. The Knights have a chance to win the series in the next two games as they have an opportunity to return to glory.
Back in Year 2000, San Juan became the national champion in the Metropolitan Basketball Association, the precursor of the MPBL.
But San Juan, backed by Big J Sports, has a lot of work to do, especially after coming off a loss in Game 2. The Knights’ usually explosive squad was completely thrown out of its comfort zone by the suffocating 2-3 zone defense employed by the Cocolife-backed Davao Occidental squad.
After shooting 63-percent in Game 1, the Knights had a hard time hitting their shots in Game 2, the most notable victims were ex-pros Mac Cardona and John Wilson struggled and combined for only 12 points.
A former scoring champion in the PBA, Cardona went 3-for-15 from the field, while Wilson shot a woeful 2-for-10. Both players combined for only 12 markers as the Knights struggled with their shooting.
With their defense clicking, Davao Occidental’s offense got going.
Billy Robles knocked in 17 markers, while Mark Yee had another MVP-type performance, registering his 20th double-double in the league, tying Harold Arboleda and Jhaymo Eguilos for the most number of feats.
Yee finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Davao Occidental is hoping to salvage at least a win to bring the series back to Game 5 and to do that, the players need to get it done one game at a time.
“Confident ako na makaka-isa kami sa San Juan,” said Robles. “Ang importante, naipanalo namin yung Game 2 and tumaas yung kumpiyansa namin ahead of Game 3.”