BATAAN used a 14-3 run in the fourth and held off Zamboanga, 76-74, in the MPBL Datu Cup on Monday at the People’s Center in Balanga, Bataan.
Yvan Ludovice, Byron Villarias and Gab Dagangon led the way in the big late rally that turned a five-point deficit to a 72-66 lead.
The Risers survived Robin Roño’s torrid shooting to pull off its 16th win in 18 games and stay in the lead in the northern division.
Roño scored 18 points on six triples, his last three-point basket putting the Zamboanga within two, but the Risers wasted the remaining time to preserve the win and avoid back-to-back losses at home.
It was a fitting win for the Risers, particularly to comebacking coach Joel Banal, who was included in the coaching staff of head mentor Jojo Lastimosa.
Banal took over from Lastimosa in his first game as the latter had to attend to personal matters in his hometown province Cagayan de Oro.
“Their father (Jolas) had to take a leave, so I have to take over and act as the guardian, but I love the challenge. Of course, I got a lot of help from the other members of the coaching staff, who guided me as well,” added Banal.
Manila edged Rizal, 71-70, in the other game.