MANILA – Iloilo United Royals survived a late run by the Nueva Ecija MiGuard to escape with a 92-90 victory in the 2019-2020 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup on Wednesday night at the Olivares College Gymnasium in Paranaque City.
Holding to a 91-80 lead, the Royals suddenly saw its advantage trimmed to 90-91 but an offensive foul on MiGuard’s Jerwin Gaco and a split free throw by Royals’ Aaron Jeruta iced the victory for the Ilonggos.
Richard Escoto top-scored with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, Rey Publico and Donald Gumaru submitted 16 and 11 markers, respectively, as the Royals improve to 3-1 win-loss slate.
The Royals surged to an 18-8 start with baskets from Publico and Jessiery Pedrosa for a 27-17 edge. The MiGuard attempted to come close in the second period but the Royals came up with hits from Escoto for a 50-40 halftime edge.
The Royals were still dominant in the third canto as the lead reached its largest at 65-47 after a triple by Escoto. MiGuard answered with its rally to trim the deficit to 78-63 heading into the fourth.
The MiGuard pulled even closer in the fourth period at 77-83 but back-to-back hits from Al Francis Tamsi and conversions from Escoto and Rodel de Leon increased the Ilonggos lead to 91-80.
John Paul Sarao and Jerwin Gaco had 17 points each, while Ricardo Cawaling and Marlon Monte added 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for the MiGuard, which dropped to 1-4./PN