THE Basilan Steel were able to tame the Mandaluyong El Tigre through a rousing 70-68 win on Tuesday night in the JRU Gym.
While the Steel were dubbed as the underdogs coming in to the game, head coach Joseph Romarate continuously implored the team to go back to basics and stick to their identity – playing the gritty type of basketball that the Basilenos come and love.
“We worked really hard to bounce back, especially coming from a devastating loss. We just tried to leave all our worries behind and just play our trademark game – which is to play tough, hard-nosed basketball,” said Romarate in a text message to FOX Sports Philippines.
After being down by double digits for most of the first half, the Steel forged their way back – taking the lead at the end of the third quarter. And from there, Basilan never looked back as they made enough plays down the stretch to outlast Mandaluyong.
Clark Bautista led all scorers with 21 points while Dexter Garcia has continued to be a revelation for the Steel as he notched 12 points while shooting at a perfect rate. As for the El Tigre, Ray Parks Jr. notched 14 markers despite his shooting woes while Prince Rivero and Jeff Javillonar tallied 13 apiece.
As for head coach Joseph Romarate, he hopes that the momentum brought about by this win will be carried over into the next game as they’re set to face the only undefeated team in the league – the Muntinlupa Cagers.
“Our mindset now is if we can beat Mandaluyong, we can beat Muntinlupa. We’ll just do our best to prepare against them since they have a new coach in Aldin Ayo, but tonight’s win is a huge morale booster for us,” explained Romarate.