FORMER University of Cebu big man Alfred Batino led the Bataan Risers to their third win in a row after pushing past Bicol, 76-72, in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup at the People Center Capitol on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Down by six points, 68-74, Alwyn Alday and Ronjay Buenafe uncorked baskets in a quick 5-0 swing to pull Bicol to within two points, 72-74, with 26 ticks remaining in the game.
But Bataan’s Achie Inigo and Batino had other ideas and put a stop to Bicol’s comeback attempt by draining three free throws combined to put a four-point cushion, 76-74, with 15.7 seconds left for the Risers. Buenafe hoisted one last three-pointer to try and save the Volcanoes but missed.
“Nung una hindi ako nakapag-adjust na-ano kami sa physicality kasi parang back-to-back games nag iisip kami ng long-term, tapos ano nung na-foul trouble ako nag ease down ako tapos ayun nag compose lang yung team,” said Batino, who last played for UC back in 2012 before moving on to Centro Escolar University.
The wide-bodied Batino posted a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Risers to a 16-10 record in the Northern Division – one Pampanga loss away from forging a tie with the Giant Lanterns in the fifth slot.
Chito Jaime, James Castro, and Byron Villarias all reached the double-digit mark in scoring with 10 markers apiece.
On the other hand, former M. Lhuillier standout Hafer Mondragon had 16 points to pace Bicol while Buenafe and Alday added 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
Bicol remained at the eighth spot in the Southern Division with a 13-13 record.
1Bataan-Camaya Coast (76) – Batino 18, Jaime 10, Villarias 10, Castro 10, Jumao-as 8, Inigo 7, Juntilla 6, Gallardo 6, Gozum 1, Cudal 0, Llanto 0
Bicol-LCC Stores (72) – Mondragon 16, Buenafe 14, Alday 12, Garcia 8, Guerrero 7, Lalata 7, Aldave 5, Gusi 3, Alfonso 0, Manalang 0
Quarterscores: 23-22, 28-32, 58-55, 76-72 (JNP)