A depleted Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay showed up on Wednesday night to battle the Quezon City Capitals-Black Mamba, but the inaugural staging champ proved they still have enough gas left in the tank.
The Athletics bucked the absence of key players Val Acuña, Jhaymo Eguilos and Mon Rogado and turned to Bong Galanza and the rest of the cast to pull off a 95-90 win in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Galanza, picked up by the Athletics in the off season after he was released by his former team Kia in the PBA, scattered 28 points. He had a prolific 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and his shooting spree allowed the Batangas City to weather repeated rallies of Quezon City.
In the main game, the Caloocan Supremos-Longrich finally snapped a five-game skid dating back last season's Rajah Cup.
The Supremos used a late-game surge to turn back the Pasig Pirates-Gameville, 91-81, and snap a five-game losing skid bridging from last season. It was Caloocan's first home win and only the second in franchise history.
Led by mainstay Mar Villahermosa, the Supremos drew double-digit production from six players to give Mayor Oscar Malapitan a fitting birthday gift.
Villahermosa, the team's resident star, finished with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Ex-pro Jopher Custodio and Cedric Labing-isa added 13 points apiece while Joseph Nalos contributed 12. New prized recruits JR Cawaling and Paul Sanga chipped in 11 apiece as the Supremos completed a come from behind victory.
The Supremos had to climb back from 14 points down, 42-56, in the early part of the third period.
Caloocan rallied and engaged Pasig in a nip-and-tuck encounter in the last five minutes before the Supremos came through with 13 unanswered points to put away the Pirates.
Sanga, who was struggling all game long, hit back-to-back treys that triggered the Supremos late-game pull away.