The defending champion San Juan Knights silenced the home crowd with a thrilling 77-76 win over Bacoor Strikers on Friday night, June 14.
The Knights had to go to their MVP to escape with a win over the Strikers in the elimination round of 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup.
Mike Ayon Ayon, the MPV of the last finals, knocked down a jumper to put the San Juan up by two, 76-74, with 18 seconds remaining.
Larry Rodriguez then got a steal and was fouled, but only made one of two free throws to make it 77-74 with seven seconds left.
Bacoor had the chance to send the game to overtime after RJ Ramirez was able to get a foul from Jeff Tajonera with only a second left in regulation. However, Ramirez only made two of three from the stripe.
Ayon Ayon led the Knights with 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Three other players scored in double-figures for San Juan. John Wilson and Jhonard Clarito contributed 16 points apiece, while Larry Rodriguez had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Th Strikers was led by Michael Cañete in scoring with 19 points on top of five rebounds.
The reigning MVP Gab Banal posted 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in the loss.
SAN JUAN 77 - Ayon Ayon 22, Clarito 16, Wilson 16, Rodriguez 12, Estrella 3, Isit 2, Reyes 2, Saitanan 2, Tajonera 2, Cardona 0, Aquino 0.
BACOOR 76 - Cañete 19, Banal 17, Ramirez 13, Sumalinog 10, Montuano 8, Castro 7, Destacamento 2, Melencio 0, Matthew Aquino 0, Acidre 0.