CEDRIC Ablaza atoned for a mediocre showing the last time around to lift Makati to a hard-earned 79-77 win over Davao Occidental in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan Laguna.
Shackled by Batangas to two points on 1-of-9 shooting in Makati’s first loss of the tournament, the hardworking forward made all but one of his 10 attempts from the field on his way to finishing with 22 points on top of eight rebounds.
Ablaza made all three of his three-point shots and had five crucial points when the Skyscrapers built a 66-59 lead heading into the last five minutes.
With the win, Makati improved to 3-1 while handing Davao Occidental its second straight loss.
Makati’s victory over Davao Occidental was overshadowed by Rizal’s 80-79 come-from-behind victory over host team Laguna as Alvin Vitug finished with 21 points, including the game-winning bucket in the final seconds.
Vitug was put on the spotlight in the last 11 seconds of the game when he was fouled while taking a three-point shot from deep left. He made two of three shots from the charity stripe to put his team on top, 78-77.
Denok Miranda answered with a tough drive to the basket that put the Heroes back on top with four seconds to go, 79-78.
Inbounding the ball from the sidelines, Rizal went to Vitug who scored on a banked shot to clinch Rizal’s first win in four games.
“Ang sabi ko lang, magtiwala sila sa sarili nila. Itong mga ganitong klaseng panalo ang napakasarap. Nakaka-proud,” said Rizal coach Braulio Lim.