San Juan silenced the Almendras Gym in Davao City on Thursday night as it took Game 1 of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Finals against Davao Occidental with an 84-74 win.
The Knights went on a roll in the first half, opening a 49-32 lead at halftime.
However, the Tigers came alive in the third, going on a 16-4 run in the middle of the period to cut the lead down to six, 56-50, with 3:29 left in the quarter.
San Juan eventually restored order late in the third and even stretched its advantage back to 16 in the fourth quarter before keeping Davao Occ at bay in the end.
John Wilson scored 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals for the Knights, which essentially stole homecourt edge from the Tigers, meaning they have a chance to clinch the national title when the series shifts to the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City next week.
Mac-Mac Cardona added 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block.
Eman Calo’s 27-point bomb highlighted by three triples that fanned the flame in Davao Occ’s huge third quarter run went down the drain.
Game 2 is set on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Colleges Gym also in Davao City.
SAN JUAN 84 – Wilson 21, Cardona 16, Ayonayon 11, Jeruta 9, Rodriguez 8, Clarito 8, Muyang 4, Tajonera 3, Wamar 2, Aquino 2, Isit 0
DAVAO OCCIDENTAL 74 – Calo 27, Yee 13, Terso 11, Najorda 5, Robles 4, Custodio 4, Ombecan 4, Medalla 3, Lamocha 2, Raymundo 1, Estrellante 0, Adorneo 0
QUARTER SCORES: 25-17, 49-32, 66-56, 84-74 (PNA)