BACOOR – San Juan picked up from where it left off and showed its championship composure in edging home team Bacoor, 77-76, late Friday night in the MPBL Season 3 at the Strike Gymnasium here.
Knights guard Mike Ayonayon, the Finals MVP in the season just passed, was able to win his duel with reigning regular season MVP Gab Banal of the Strikers as the defending champion showed poise down the stretch.
Ayonayon was the star of the show.
The high-leaping guard ended up with a double-double performance, the first in his career. He scored 22 points, none more important than the go-ahead jumper that gave San Juan a 76-74 lead with still 18 seconds left in the match.
Ayonayon also pulled down 10 boards and his activity on the defensive end was also a plus factor for the Knights, backed by Go-For-Gold.
After Ayonayon’s basket, the Knights clamped down on the Strikers, forcing a turnover from Banal, whose inside pass was stolen by Larry Rodriguez.
Earlier, Bulacan took advantage of an error-prone Cebu squad and pulled off a come from behind 75-71 win in the other game.
The Kuyas forced the Sharks to turn the ball over four times down the stretch as they completed a win via the backdoor.