NAVOTAS leaned on the hot shooting of Levi Hernandez and Rey Publico to shrug off a lethargic start and take an 83-75 win over Pasay in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League on Saturday at the San Andres Gym in Manila.
The Clutch trailed early in the first quarter but ultimately got back right at it before halftime behind the hot hands of Publico.
Hernandez then took over in a sizzling third period - firing in 12 in that stretch - as Navotas took control of the game for good.
The Voyagers tried to make a game out of it, but the Clutch had an answer to every little rally Pasay threw - with Kyle Neypes' three pointer in the 39 second mark giving them an 80-73 lead.
"We had a slow start, medyo talagang nangigigil. Buti nalang we were able to recover in the next quarters," said Navotas head coach Ritchie Ticzon.
"We want a system where we can compete even though we're young," he added.
Hernandez, formerly of TNT, led the way for Clutch with 26 points on 4-7 shooting while Publico finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Monbert Arong added nine points and four assists as Ron Denison filled the statsheet with six points, eight boards, four assists and three steals.
Former San Beda guard Yvan Ludovice led the way for Pasay with 17 points and six boards as RR De Leon added 15 points and five rebounds.
NAVOTAS 83 – Hernandez 26, Publico 22, Arong 9, Neypes 7, Denison 6, Trinidad 6, Porter 5, Sorela 2, Javelosa 0, Salem 0, Padilla 0, Gumaru 0
PASAY 75 – Ludovice 17, De Leon 15, Alanes 10, Lastimosa 8, Salcedo 7, Jamon 7, Balucanag 6, Vidal 2, Cadavis 2, Mendoza 1, Bartolo 0, Ilad 0
Quarterscores: 11-20, 32-34, 60-57, 83-75