DEFENDING champion Macway Travel Club survived a big scare before beating Wang's Ballclub, 100-99, in their knockout match in the 2016 MBL Open basketball tournament at the EAC Sports Center in Ermita, Manila.
Ex-PBA stars Larry Rodriguez and Bonbon Custodio provided the 1-2 punch for Macway with 42 of the team’s total production in a no-tomorrow encounter against Wang's Ballclub.
Rodriguez scored 23 points, while Custodio added 19 points for Macway, which arranged a semifinal duel against top seed Emilio Aguinaldo College in the seven-team tourament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Bread Story, Dickies Underwear and Gerry’s Grill.
Five other players -- Pol Santiago, Nino Marquez, Jeff Sanders Mark Fampulme and Dan Natividad -- also played well for Macway of consultant Braulio Lim, coach Daniel Martinez and managers Erick and Cathy Kirong.
But it was Macway’s rock-solid defense in the closing seconds which sealed the win.
Wang’s Ballclub had a chance to steal the win with the ball in its hands in the final offensive with still 11 seconds left , but ran into tough defense by Macway and failed to even make a shot as the final buzzer sounded.
Mark Montuano earlier completed a three-point play on a perfectly-executed alley-oop pass by Cedric Labing-isa to make it 99-100 with 20 seconds left.
Macway then missed on its next offensive, allowing Wang’s to get a final crack at the game-winning basket.
Former Mapua mainstay Mark Brana carried the fight for Wang’s Ballclub with 22 points, followed by Labing-isa with 16 points, Paul Sanga with 15 and Macky Acosta with 11.
Actually, Macway took its biggest lead in the game at 96-89 going into the final two minutes behind a five-point cluster by Marquez.
But the Mandaluyong-based team of manager Alex Wang and coach Pablo Lucas came charging back to make it 99-100 behind 10-4 run capped by Montuano’s three-point play.
Macway (100) -- Rodriguez 23, Custodio 19, Santiago 14, Marquez 12, Sanders 8, Fampulme 7, Natividad 7, Dedicatoria 4, Espinosa 3, Viscarra 3, Laude 0.
Wang’s Ballclub (99) -- Brana 22, Labing-Isa 16, Sanga 15, Acosta 11, Tayongtong 9, Montuano 8, Lasco 5, Publico 5, Banal 3, King 3, Gomez 2.
Quarterscores: 28-23, 44-43, 79-76, 100-99.