JESSIE Collado made the game-sealing block on Billy Ray Robles to help Basilan salvage a 74-72 victory over Davao Occidentalin Game One of the South Division Finals of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup playoffs on Tuesday at the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum.
With the Steel hanging on to a slim 73-72 lead, the veteran big man swatted what would have been Robles' go-ahead bucket for the Tigers before Allyn Bulanadi split his charities to make it a two-point game.
Kenneth Mocon had a shot at a potential winner but missed for Davao Occidental as Basilan drew first blood in the best-of-three series.
"That's how the division finals will be: toe-to-toe, breaks of the game. Talagang kailangan lang composed kasi yun yung magde-decide eh," said coach Jerson Cabiltes.
The block was the highlight of Collado's 9-point, 2-rebound, and 2-block performance. But Bulanadi was the shining light anew for Basilan with 15 points, nine boards, five steals, and three blocks as the Steel moved a win away from advancing to the Finals.
Jhaps Bautista shot two treys to finish with 12 points, Bobby Balucanag came off the bench and produced 12 points on a 5-of-6 clip while Hesed Gabo had 12 assists to make up for his two points.
No. 3 Basilan can complete the sweep of the top-seed Davao Occidental at Lamitan Capitol Gym on Wednesday.
It was a tiring game between the two sides as the duel had to be moved from Rizal Memorial Colleges to Tagum City due to the safety precautions brought by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, with the tip-off originally slated at 8:30 p.m. being pushed to 10:30 p.m.
It didn't help that a malfunctioning shot clock further stretched the game to the wee hours of Tuesday as the final 15.2 seconds was halted for 15 minutes more.
Robles paced the Cocolife-backed Tigers with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in the defeat.
Mark Yee, who continues to play through a slew of injuries, had 12 points and four boards as he joined MPBL's 1,000th-point club with his three at the 9:12 mark of the second quarter.
BASILAN 74 - Bulanadi 15, Bautista 12, Balucanag 12, Collado 9, Dumapig 7, Dagangon 6, Bringas 4, Palencia 4, Gabo 2, Daa 2, Manalang 1.
DAVAO OCCIDENTAL 72 -- Robles 15, Gaco 12, Yee 12, Custodio 7, Forrester 6, Calo 5, Mocon 5, Terso 4, Saldua 3, Balagtas 2, Albo 1, Ludovice 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 36-36, 56-56, 74-72.