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Bulacan Kuyas escape Mindoro Tamaraws at home to give coach Kerwin McCoy a win in debut

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, August 17, 2019 11:03pm

The Bulacan Kuyas did just enough to fend off the Mindoro Tamaraws late in the fourth quarter to come away with a 74-69 victory and give new head coach Kerwin McCoy a winning debut on Saturday in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup at the Baliwag Star Arena.

The Kuyas took control of the game early, leading 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and 31-21 at the half. Bulacan then blew the game wide open in the third quarter with JR Alabanza, Hernal Escosio, Dan Sara, Stephen Siruma, Oliver Arim, and Jovit Dela Cruz scoring baskets to give Bulacan a 59-38 lead late in the third quarter before settling for a 59-40 advantage heading into the final frame.

The Kuyas were just about to coast to an easy win when Luigi Natada, Kim Cinco, Kerr Bangeles, Rodel Vaygan powered the Tamaraws comeback before Mac Baracael sank two free throws that pulled Mindoro to within 63-67 with still 2:05 left in the game.

Arim, however, replied with a layup before Vaygan missed on a three-point try. Arim also sank two free throws before the Kuyas forced Natada to miss on a layup try before Sara nailed a pair of free throws to give Bulacan another double-digit lead, 73-63, with 1:18 to go. The Kuyas then held on to the victory.

Sara led the Kuyas with 12 points, six rebounds, three assist, and one steal while Siruma finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists. McHale Nermal also had 10 points, four boards, and two steals.

Baracael had an excellent outing for Mindoro as he finished with 16 points, six boards, three assists, and one steal while Vaygan also had 16 points, six boards, and two blocks. Natada chipped in 12 points and five rebounds.

With the win, Bulacan now holds a 6-5 win-loss record. Mindoro, meanwhile, dropped to 3-7, losing their last three games. The Kuyas will face the Makati Super Crunch on September 2 while the Tamaraws will collide with the SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins on August 23.

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