SUBIC — San Juan-Go for Gold Knights avenged its Game One loss by thwarting Davao Occidental-Cocolife Tigers, 70-65, to knot the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan National Finals at one game apiece on Thursday at the Subic Bay Gymnasium here.

Trailing 43-50 midway through the third period, the Knights went on a huge 20-5 run bridging through the fourth quarter, capped by John Wilson’s triple at the 4:14 mark to turn the tables, 63-55. Mike Ayonayon had nine of his 15 points during that spirited rally.

Two free throws from Emman Calo got the Tigers to within four, 64-60, with 2:26 left but that would be the closest they could get until the waning seconds of the game.

“We took this as knockout game because if we went down 0-2 it will be hard for us to come back because of fatigue as the games are almost every day,” said San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara of the mindset they have in Game Two.

Mr. Wilson, who came off the bench, top-scored for the defending champions with 17 points built on three triples with three rebounds and two steals.

On top of his scoring output, Mr. Ayonayon also had nine assists, two steals, and two blocks while Jhonard Clarito just missed out on a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Mr. Calo led all scorers with 26 markers, including the last 10 Davao points, to go along with five rebounds, and four steals.

Mark Yee contributed 13 points and 10 boards but went just 2-of-11 from the field while Billy Robles tallied 11 markers and 10 rebounds.

Game Three is scheduled to take place on Saturday. [end]

The Scores:

San Juan 70 — Wilson 17, Ayonayon 15, Clarito 9, Rodriguez 8, Gabawan 4, Reyes 4, Wamar 3, Isit 3, Pelayo 3, Estrella 3, Tajonera 1, Aquino 0, Buñag 0, Marquez 0.

Davao Occidental 65 – Calo 26, Yee 13, Robles 11, Balagtas 6, Mocon 2, Custodio 2, Gaco 2, Albo 1, Ludovice 1, Terso 1, Raymundo 0, Bonleon 0.

Quarterscores: 15-15, 38-37, 52-50, 70-65.