Former Cesafi MVP Rey Anthony Suerte drained one clutch shot after another to push the Batangas City-Tanduay past the Navotas-Unipak Sardines, 72-68, in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday night, January 23, 2020.
With the Athletics down one, Suerte — a product of the University of the Visayas — drained a triple from the left wing and then, got a foul off of Navotas’ Kojack Melegrito that led to two made free-throws to put Batangas City in front, 69-66, with 1:39 left.
Osama Abdurasad’s lay-up with 39.4 seconds left trimmed the Athletics’ lead to one. But Suerte once again came to Batangas’ defense, making another three-pointer from the same spot where he made one earlier to push the lead back to four points, 72-68, with 16 seconds remaining.
Abdurasad missed a three-pointer while Cebuano forward Jason Melano stole the ball off a pass from Joesel Prudente to seal the deal for the Athletics.
Suerte – who scored Batangas’ last eight points – finished the game with 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds for the Athletics, who are now in a three-way logjam in the fifth spot of the South Division with Iloilo and Zamboanga, possessing identical 16-11 cards.
Melano fired in 12 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, and a block while Ryusei Koga and Jeff Viernes chipped in 12 and 11 points in the victory.
Mark Guillen and Mikey Cabahug, meanwhile, led Navotas with 13 points apiece. The Unipak Sardines-backed squad dropped to a 7-21 standing in the North Division.
Batangas City-Athletics (72) – Suerte 13, Melano 12, Koga 12, Viernes 11, Olivares 7, Grimaldo 5, Santos 4, Sara 3, Tungcab 3, Bragais 2, Rogado 0
Navotas-Unipak Sardines (68) – Guillen 13, Cabahug 13, Taywan 11, Gonzales 6, Melegrito 5, Bondoc 5, Abdurasad 5, Matillano 4, Andaya 4, Bautista 2, Evangelista 0, Prudente 0 (JNP)