WANG'S Ballclub made it three wins in a row to assume the solo lead, even as newcomer St. Dominic's College of Asia debuted with a flourish in the 2014 MBL Open basketball championship at the Lyceum gym in Intramuros, Manila.
Wang's Ballclub rode on the heroics of former University of the East mainstay Keith Resopa to escape with a tense 74-72 win over Our Lady of Fatima University while St. Dominic came through with a decisive 15-2 finishing kick to hammer out a 65-52 win over Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
Resopa's game-winning putback off a miss by Erwin Sta. Maria with five seconds left came after JJ Mallari nailed a shot clock-beating three-point shot for Fatima that tied the score at 72-all with 12 seconds remaining.
Mallari missed a desperation shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.
Sta. Maria finished with a game-high 18 points and Montuano added 14 points for Wang's, which played minus Anthony Cuevas, Eldrick Ferrer, Edwin Asoro and movie/TV actor Ervic Vijandre.
Resopa added seven points while taking the place of Cuevas.
Joseph Marquez and Mallari led the Ralph Emerson Rivera-mentored Phoenix with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
St. Dominic rode on the hot hands of Norvee Monzon, Sherwin Lao and Jerrick Mopia to battle back from an early double-digit deficit and complete a dramatic come-from-behind win.
Monzon finished with 16 points, Lao added 14 points, and Mopia contributed 12 points for the Bacoor, Cavite-based Red Pikes of comebacking coach Eric Samson.
St. Dominic ( 65) - Monzon 20, Lao 14, Mopia 12, Commandante 8, Fordani 6, De Leon 4, Frani 1, Aragon 0, del Rosario 0, Sales 0, De Los Reyes 0.
PUP (52) - Bondoc 14, Navor 9, Are 9, Flores 8, Sta. Maria 6, Almadin 4, Perez 1, Saldana 1, Rivera 0, Mangulabnan 0, Santos 0.
Quarterscores: 10-15, 23-28, 42-40, 65-52.
Wang's Ballclub (74) - Sta. Maria 18, Montuano 13, Berre 12, Camacho 9, Castro 8, Resopa 7, Acuna 5, Ferrer 2, Reyes 0, Pabillano 0, Castro 0.
Our Lady of Fatima (72) -- Marquez 14, Mallari 11, Banaria 9, Jimenez 8, Pineda 8, Jarnacion 7, Flores 5, Cabrera 4, Datu 2, Vilalon 2, Cruz 2.
Quarterscores: 16-15, 34-27, 49-42, 74-72.