THE General Santos Warriors rewarded debuting coach Rich Alvarez with a rousing 100-76 win over the Binan City Laguna Heroes in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Season at San Andres Sports Complex.
Sinking nearly half of their field goal attempts, the Warriors dropped a 13-point bomb in the fourth quarter to seal their third victory in five games, 97-71, late in the fourth quarter.
Former pro Al Celiz led the Warriors’ onslaught with 16 points, followed by Fil-foreign Mike Williams with 15, Pamboy Raymundo with 14, Al Carlos with 11, and rugged Delmar Mahaling with 11 and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Alvarez, the PBA’s top draft pick in 2004 who last played for Kia Picanto in 2015, said he just continued what former coach Ramon Pido, who slid to assistant coach, had done with the Warriors.
“I’m glad they (players) responded,” said Alvarez, a 6-foot-4 slam dunker who bested James Yap for PBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2004.
Apart from shooting well, the Warriors also ruled the boards, 56-46, and led all the way, in stark contrast to their faltering finish against the Manila Stars on July 4.
The Basilan Steel met stiff resistance from the Marikina Shoemasters before pounding out an 86-83 victory in the opener.
Highly favored due to their talent-laden roster, the Steel couldn’t shake off the Shoemasters, who rallied from a 64-75 deficit only to fall short of breaking into the win-column after five games.
Prized acquisitions Gab Dagangon, formerly of Bataan, and Bobby Balucanag, formerly of Pasay, spearheaded coach Jerson Cabiltes’ charges with 18 points each. They were backstopped by former Far Eastern University Tamaraw Anthony Bringas with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Cris Dumapig with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Balucanag also had a double-double for the Steel with 10 rebounds.
Von Tambeling scored 18 for Marikina, which drew 15 points and 13 rebounds from Daryl Pascual.