King Tiger Mark Yee posted his first double-double performance in the playoffs as he led Davao Occidental Cocolife to a hard-earned 77-71 victory against the Bicol Volcanoes at the start of the top seed versus 8th-ranked best-of-three encounter in the south division of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup Monday night at Rizal Memorial Colleges Gym in Davao City.
The visiting Bicolanos dictated the tempo in the early goings, sparked by their torrid outside shooting. They looked headed to an upset win as they led the half, 36-27.
But the depth of Davao squad of Dumper Party List Rep. Claudine Bautista, backed by Cocolife President Atty. Jose Martin Loon, FVP Joseph Ronquillo, AVP Rowena Asnan and SVP Franz Joie Araque, made the difference as the Tigers grabbed the lead at the end of third period, 55-53, from the combined efforts of Yee, Ivan Ludovice, Emman Calo, Billy Robles and Jayvee Mocon.
A pair of dagger treys from snipers Ludovice and Joseph Terso in the winding final quarter put the Tigers to safer grounds, but the Volcanoes refused to be silenced.
A back-to-back explosion by Jerome Garcia put Bicol to within striking distance at 71-74 and a danger zone for the host team, which stood its ground in the end to notch the win.
Ludovice’s conversions at the line sealed the win for Davao, pushing the Tigers a win away from advancing to the next playoff phase (Final Four) of the league organized by Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Davao will eye a sweep against Bicol on Friday in Batangas City
Gacia top-scored for Bicol with 15 points output. He was backed by Chris Lalata (12), Alwyn Alday (11) and Ronjay Buenafe (10).
“Ipagpatuloy lang namin ang dapat gawin sa next game versus Bicol. Depensa at talino sa laro. Respeto rin sa kalaban dahil lahat naman magagaling,” said game’s Best Player Yee, who scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds and 4 assists.