Iloilo United Royals overpowered Bacolod Master Sardines, 89-81, in the first encounter of regional rivals in the 2019-2020 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup at the Valenzuela Astrodome.
Richard Escoto had another solid showing with 22 points on Thursday night.
Jasper Parker and Ilonggo Aaron Jeruta added 15 and 12 markers, respectively, while Al Francis Tamsi and Ryan Arambulo had 10 markers each.
The Ilonggos rose to an 11-8 win-loss record due to the win.
From a seesaw battle early in the opening quarter, the Ilonggos created distance from Bacolodnons at 24-17 on back-to-back treys by Mark Racho and inside hits from Jeruta and Arambulo.
Bacolodnons rallied back early in the second period as they were able to tie the score at 26-all before the Ilonggos pulled away at 42-32 on five straight points by Escoto and shots from Parker and Andrei Pantin.
Bacolod was able to come to within five at the half but Iloilo answered with a strong start in the third period to make it double-digit edge on conversions from Escoto, Jeruta and Tamsi.
The Royals went on to build its largest lead at 67-50 after a triple by Donald Gumaru. The Master Sardines rallied back to come to as close as seven before Iloilo sealed the win with a basket by Arambulo.
As the Master Sardines suffered its fifth straight loss to drop to 6-13, Jopher Custodio tallied 22 points, including five triples, while Nico Paolo Javelona and Jerick Canada added 12 and 10 markers, respectively./PN