MANILA – Davao Occidental came alive in the third quarter to overcome a slow start before holding off Roxas for a 63-59 win in the inaugural game of the Pilipinas Super League (PSL) on Friday night at the Dipolog City Sports Center.
The Tigers found themselves in an early hole after the Vanguards raced to a 26-16 lead with 7:50 left in the first half.
Davao Occidental, however, slowly crawled back and banked on a huge third-quarter run sparked by back-to-back baskets from Robby Celiz to go up, 54-43, late in the period.
“Noong opening, sabi ni Commissioner Marc [Pingris], ‘Puso!’ So yun lang ang pinakita ko (During the opening ceremonies, Commissioner Marc said, 'Show heart!' So that's what I showed),” said Celiz, who finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds with two assists, one steal, and three blocks.
Roxas tried to climb back in the fourth quarter, but their comeback bid fell short.
Eman Calo also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Gab Dagangon also put up 12 points.
Wowie Escosio made 12 points, nine rebounds, and one steal to lead Roxas.
PHP2M at stake
Meanwhile, the antes have been raised for the PSL's opening event, the Pearl of the Orient Cup.
Pingris and PSL vice president Dinko Bautista announced during the opening ceremonies that the champion team of this conference will win PHP2 million.
The second placer, on the other hand, will take home PHP1 million, while the third placer will receive PHP500,000.
This should give the eight-team field added motivation to vie for the league's inaugural championship.
PSL is the newest regional basketball league in the country.
Davao Occidental 63-Celiz 16, Dagangon 12, Calo 12, Palencia 8, Wilson 4, Rodriguez 4, Balagtas 4, Grimaldo 2, Lalata 1, Custodio 0, Santos 0, Anib 0
Roxas 59-Escosio 12, Dela Cruz 10, Mabigat 8, Valin 6, De Guzman 5, Bonleon 4, Arellano 4, Segura 4, Serrano 2, Delfinado 2, Templo 0, Nacpil 0, Vesagas 0
Quarterscores: 16-21, 34-35, 54-48, 63-59 (PNA)