MALOLOS – Multi-titled collegiate coach Aldin Ayo’s debut in the MPBL was a big hit as he led Muntinlupa to a win even as host team Bulacan Kuyas-Mighty Sports cheered up fans that packed the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium.
Ayo took over the coaching chores from Aldrin Morante, now relegated as consultant, and immediately brought in the mayhem effects on the Cagers, who blasted the Basilan Steel, 99-75.
Defense has always been Ayo’s calling card, and in the second half, he was able to instill that kind of philosophy in the Cagers, who held their rivals scoreless in a four-minute stretch in the third period. That allowed Muntinlupa to unleash a crippling 18-0 run and post a 66-51 lead.
Basilan never recovered from there.
The Cagers extended their winning streak to eight and remained as the only unbeaten team in the tournament. Basilan absorbed its sixth loss in 10 games.
In the main game, the Bulacan team of Caesar Wongchuking outlasted Imus in a high-scoring game that went the extra mile, 117-113.
It was the seventh win in 10 games for the Kuyas, who tallied the most points made by a winning team. Bulacan also set the record for most points in the first period in the young history of the league after scoring 38 points.
Both teams combined for 230 points, also a new record in the league.
But while the two teams were also able to come up with their own achievements, JR Taganas made his mark in rebounding by becoming the first player to grab 26 rebounds in a game. The burly but shifty player shattered the week-long record of 24 rebounds previously set by Mark Yee.
On the record-setting night, Bulacan was able to get back on the winning track after losing badly to Gen San last time around. The Kuyas improved their win-loss record to 7-3 to stay in the upper half of the team standings.