SAN Juan drew first blood in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup national finals by beating Davao Occidental, 84-74, on Thursday night at the Almendras Gym in Davao City.
John Wilson led the way for the Knights, finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals as the Knights wasted no time stealing homecourt advantage in the best-of-five finals.
Wilson’s fellow ex-pro Mac Cardona had 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Knights, who will go for a 2-0 lead in the championship series on Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Colleges gym in Davao City.
Wilson converted a triple as San Juan grabbed a 23-15 lead in the first quarter. They never relinquished the lead until the end.
Emman Calo had 27 points while Mark Yee had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers, who lost at home for the first time in the Datu Cup as they paid dearly for a lethargic start in Game One.
San Juan Knights 84 – Wilson 21, Cardona 16, Ayon Ayon 11, Jeruta 9, Clarito 8, Muyang 4, Tajonera 3, Wamar 2, Aquino 2, Isit 0.
Davao Occidental Tigers 74 – Calo 27, Yee 13, Terso 11, Najorda 5, Custodio 4, Robles 4, Ombecan 4, Medalla 3, Lamocha 2, Raymundo 1, Estrellante 0, Adormeo 0.
Quarters: 25-17; 49-32; 65-56; 84-74.