BATANGAS CITY – Bicol security guard Alwin Alday is aware of all discussions about his team's chances against the top seed Davao Occidental in the southern division of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan playoffs.
"Nobody gave us a chance," said Alday in Filipino. "Everyone thinks Davao would just roll us over and make it to the next round."
The volcanoes will not be a big challenge for Davao, as they have won only 16 games, 10 less than the reigning kings of the South Division. They also collapsed in the face of Tiger's relentless defense against pressure at last Monday's series opening game.
But when Alday threw big baskets on the track on Friday evening, the Volcanoes sent their quarter-final series to the South Division for a crucial game with an exciting 84-81 win over a boisterous crowd focused on the serious underdogs at Batangas State University Gym.
The Tondo-born leisure league star led Bicol's fight of 16 points in the second half. He scored five direct points for a 77-69 lead with 4:28 remaining before splitting his free throws to ultimately restore a three-point cushion.
"The pressure is on them, so we're enjoying the experience of being in the playoffs," said Alday, who finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
"But now that we're here, we might as well give it our all and take the opportunity."
Davao looked as if it had dealt with the absence of Mark Yee, who had to leave the game due to a knee strain in the second period.
But Bicol caught fire in the fourth quarter and cleared a nine-point deficit to begin the period when another security guard Jerome Garcia broke out for nine of his 18 points. Ex-professional Ronjay Buenafe also had 15 points and eight templates for the volcanoes.
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