BASILAN's first-ever franchise in a major league made the province proud as its MPBL squad notched its first win in the Datu Cup, 86-76, at the expense of fellow southern squad Cebu City Sharks on Thursday night.
Ex-PBA frontliner Dennis Daa knocked in 25 points, including four in the crucial stretch that propelled Basilan to its first win in three games at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor, Cavite.
Daa made a tough fallaway jumper and two free throws inside the final two minutes while Macky Acosta had a triple and a layup in that backbreaking stretch as the duo touched off a big endgame run by the Steel.
The loss was the third in a row for the Casino Ethyl Alcohol-backed Sharks, who signed a new coach in Ting Manalili in lieu of Gilbert Castillo.
“I hope we made the entire province of Basilan proud,” said Steel mentor Joseph Romarate. “This is a good way for us to show the good side of Basilan. It’s time to change the image of the province in a good way. We can show to them that we can be winners and we proved it in our first MPBL win.”
Basilan is coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Valenzuela Classic, but the team from Mindanao was able to bounce back strong.
In the second game, Bulacan survived a late rally by home team Bacoor to escape with a 77-76 win.
JR Taganas posted his sixth career double-double performance with 14 points and 11 boards.
The Kuyas squandered a 16-point lead in the third period and saw their rivals come to within striking distance, 68-66, behind a 17-2 run by the Strikers.