TOP seed Davao Occidental kept its winning mentality ahead of the playoffs, but the race for the southern division’s top two berth has remained to be tight among three teams following the Tigers’ latest win.
The Tigers brought down host team Muntinlupa Cagers, 88-82, on Wednesday night, thus creating a three-way tie for second to fourth spots in the southern division of the MPBL Datu Cup.
Following their victory over the Cagers, the Tigers ended their elimination round with a 20-5 win-loss slate, but their latest triumph made the race for the No. 2 seat more complicated.
Davao Occidental’s win coupled by General Santos’ 93-89 squeaker of Mandaluyong created a three-way tie among the Warriors, the Cagers, and the Batangas City Athletics, all of them carrying a 14-10 win-loss records.
By virtue of a superior quotient, Batangas City will occupy the No.2 seat followed by Muntinlupa at No.3 and General Santos City at fourth spot.
But Batangas and General Santos City will still battle it out on Monday at the Batangas City Coliseum while Muntinlupa will square off with Navotas in the continuation of the last 1:34 of their match that was reset after the rim broke down during their encounter several months ago.
The Tigers won despite playing without its top guard Billy Robles, who was sidelined by an injury, while also bucking the absence of Bonbon Custodio, who was thrown out of the game along with Dhon Reverente after the two got engaged in a heated exchange. Both received two technical fouls each leading to their ejection.
But they got solid contributions from their old reliables.
Leo Najorda scattered 23 points, Mark Yee had another double-double effort and Custodio and Adormeo had 14 and 10, respectively for Davao Occidental.
Davao Occidental will face either Imus and Cebu, which are still battling out the last two placings of the south division of this tournament also supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.