DAVAO Occidental, a team from down south in the MPBL Datu Cup, has joined the mix of championship contenders.
For nine straight games, the Cocolife-backed Tigers were able to dispatch their opponents to vault their way to the top capped by their latest 93-68 demolition of the Zamboanga Valientes-Family’s Brand Sardines Tuesday night.
Davao Occidental’s victory over Zamboanga enabled the team to improve to 11-3 mark to lead the pack in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and member of 40 Greatest Players Kenneth Duremdes serving as the commissioner.
So steady were the Tigers that they were able to shoot 50% from the field (39-of-78). They were also more active in getting the rebounds as they clobbered the Valientes in the battle of the boards, 53-30. Davao Occidental unleashed its superiority by playing better as a team, dishing out 13 more assists than Zamboanga, 29-16.
Davao Occidental’s surge was led by veteran Mark Yee, the former PBA player, who is also one of the prime candidates for this season’s MVP award. The journeyman had a another double-double effort of 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers may be sitting comfortably at the top of the standings, but survival is the name of the game for the Classic of Valenzuela, which hammered out a 78-64 triumph over struggling Mandaluyong.
The host team posted its first back-to-back victories since Eric Samson took over as mentor of the Classic, who now improved their win-loss record to 6-9.
Chris de Chavez caught fire, hitting 20 markers highlighted by a steady six-of-10 shooting from the three-point region to lead the way for the Classic, who led by as many as 22 points, 65-43. — Rey Joble