MAKATI turned to its suffocating defense in the second half for a successful Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) debut as it cuffed fellow newcomer Basilan, 77-65, on Tuesday at the Baliuag Star Arena in Bulacan.
The Skyscrapers forced the Steel to turnover after turnover in the second half as they overcame a 12-point deficit and broke the game wide-open behind a blazing finish.
In all, Makati forced Basilan to 34 turnovers and got 38 points out of it.
Cedrick Ablaza starred in the comeback for the Skyscrapers, kickstarting their counter-offensive before Philip Paniamogan finally got going in the second half.
The former Jose Rizal University standout started out by making just one of his first eight shots, but he rediscovered his touch just in time to fire 14 in the final two quarters.
Paniamogan finished with 19 points albeit on 7-of-21 shooting to lead all scorers. Ablaza added 18 points and seven rebounds as Rudy Lingganay and James Mangahas chipped in 11 points apiece.
Jojo Tangkay, 41, was as lethal as ever as he led the Steel with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in a losing effort. Ex-Letran stalwart Dennis Daa finished with 15 as Mark Ababon added 11.
Makati 77 - Paniamogan 19, Ablaza 18, Mangahas 11, Lingganay 11, Apinan 6, Lasquety 6, Mocon 4, Importante 2, Manlangit 0, Isip 0, Villanueva 0
Basilan 65 - Tangkay 16, De. Daa 15, Ababon 11, Acosta 7, Dumapig 5, Foronda 4, Lusdoc 2, Di. Daa 2, Garcia 2, Bautista 0
Quarterscores: 11-19, 30-33, 51-48, 77-65