TOP seed Davao Occidental Tigers are in no mood to let its guards down against second running Muntinlupa, the Tigers were all business.
On Wednesday night, Davao Occidental brought down Muntinlupa, 88-82, in the battle of heavyweight in the southern division of the MPBL Datu Cup at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Already assured of the top spot in the southern division, Davao Occidental unraveled its winning mentality and was all focus getting the victory ahead of the playoffs.
The Cocolife-backed Tigers ended their elimination round campaign with a 20-5 win-loss record, but for Don Dulay, picking up a win against a tough team like Muntinlupa before plunging to the playoffs is something his team needed.
“We need to have that winning mentality,” Dulay told BusinessWorld. “At first, I thought the players would kinda relax because we’re already assured of the No. 1 spot. But the players really bought into it, knowing it’s important for us to bring that winning mentality ahead of the playoffs.”
The Tigers won despite playing without its top guard Billy Robles, who was sidelined by an injury, while also bucking the absence of Bonbon Custodio, who was thrown out of the game along with Dhon Reverente after the two got engaged in a heated exchange. Both received two technical fouls leading to their ejection.
Leo Najorda scattered 23 points, Mark Yee had another double-double effort and Custodio and Adormeo had 14 and 10, respectively for Davao Occidental.
Davao Occidental will face either Imus or Cebu, which are still battling out the last two placings of the south division.
General Santos City beat Mandaluyong, 93-89, in the other game. — Rey Joble