SEMBAWANG, SINGAPORE – The Red Dragons dodged a bullet last Saturday, as they were able to overcome a virtuoso performance from Victor De Vera. The Red Dragons’ balanced attack was able to offset an awesome display of scoring prowess from the Silent Assassins’ franchise player. Spectators were treated to a back and forth ordeal, a game of runs featuring multiple lead changes that saw both teams neck and neck after 3 Quarters of play — all building up to an exciting 4th quarter finish from two of the league’s premiere guards.
Victor De Vera’s 26 points should have been enough to put the Red Dragons away for good, but the lack of other scoring options kept the contest close and down to the wire. It would have otherwise been a one-sided affair, if not for the clinic of coordination the opponent put on full blast. But nonetheless, De Vera proved his mettle as the league’s leading scorer.
De Vera dominated with a myriad of layups and outside shots. He finished the game with a league-high 26 points. Perhaps it should have ended there, but the Silent Assassins did little to stop the Red Dragons’ formidable front court.
Led by Vhox Maceda’s 20 points, the Red Dragons attacked the painted area without abandon. They controlled the key in the 2nd half and it most certainly proved to be the difference. Chris Molas and Ermie Caracas also tallied 12 points each and combined for 24, the bulk of which they scored in the 3rd quarter as the Red Dragons made their run. Both Molas and Caracas were the perfect compliment to Maceda’s on-court brilliance, and the potency of the triad made it particularly difficult for the Silent Assassins to defend.
Maceda was all over the place and went shot for shot with Vic De Vera in the most competitive tussle between two of the league’s top guns in a long while. It was an instant classic from the get-go, with both Team Captains leading the charge.
But it wasn’t all Victor De Vera for the Silent Assassins, Jayben Ban Ji Ban also got on the board with 10 points, 6 of which he scored in the 2nd half. Jayben provided the spark needed at times to breathe life into a stagnant offense that yearned for more production from VIC bigs Ferdinand Ranion, 6 pts. and center John Alfonso, 6 pts.
On the other side of the fence, guard Raffy Vidal also came up with 10 points to aid in the Red Dragons’ balanced offense. Jerwin Cruz tallied 10 points of his own which certainly helped put the beatdown on the Silent Assassins.
In the end, the Red Dragons’ complete team effort was enough to edge the Silent Assassins slightly as they pulled away in the final few minutes of the fourth to win 68-61.
VHO – Absent from play was Rennel “Spark Plug” Sable (DNP) who will miss the first two games of the season. Sable is currently in his native Cebu, and will return in time for Game 3. Center Sonnie Lowie Tindan (DNP) of Marikina, a consistent post threat is also in the Philippines. He is currently listed as day-to-day and is yet to confirm for Game 2. John Valentin and Gary Boy Gebilaguin both chipped in with 2 points apiece.
VIC – Mark Paulo Atienza scored 6 points for the hobbled Silent Assassins as Christian Ampong added 5 of his own. Kim Mercado did just enough to post 2 points. Newcomer Javy Ochoco went scoreless in limited playing time.