Pampanga, South Cotabato, Manila subdue MPBL rivals

Pampanga South Cotabato Manila subdue MPBL rivals
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Defending champion Pampanga trounced Negros, 104-81, on Thursday to extend its hot streak in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

South Cotabato shared the limelight following a come-from-behind 82-81 victory over Binan Tatak Gel Beast Motorcycle Game X in the nightcap of another elimination round triple bill of the 29-team tournament. Exploiting their height and firepower advantage, the Giant Lanterns sped beyond reach, 92-63, en route to their 10th straight win after an initial loss, staying close to 9-0 pacesetters San Juan Knights, Quezon Huskers, and Nueva Ecija Vanguards.

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Showing why he’s the reigning MPBL MVP, the 6-foot-8 Baltazar chalked 18 points and 17 rebounds that enabled Pampanga to rule the boards, 67-46, and pull down Negros to 4-8. Encho Serrano backed Baltazar with 20 points, 4 rebounds plus 2 assists and so did Jeff Viernes with 16 points plus 4 assists and Archie Concepcion with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

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The Muscovados got 30 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals from Renz Palma, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals from Alvin Capobres, and 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks from James Paul Una.
While the Giant Lanterns had a blast, the South Cotabato Warriors needed the heroics of Christian Fajarito to crawl out of a 48-64 hole before squeezing out their fifth straight win for a 9-3 slate.

South Cotabato still trailed Binan, 62-73, when Fajarito poured 8 in a 12-point spurt to put South Cotabato ahead, 74-73. Binan regained the lead, 81-78, but Jammer Jamito knocked in two charities and Fajarito drilled in a one-handed floater with 10.7 seconds left for the final count that relegated Binan to a 6-3 card.

Fajarito wound up with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals while Jamito posted 13 points plus 11 rebounds.
Other Warriors who delivered were Nico Elorde with 10 points, 8 assists, and 2 steals, Val Acuna with 10 points, 2 rebounds plus 2 assists, and Enzo Joson with 9 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Binan drew 19 points and 11 rebounds from Jaymar Gimpayan and 15 points and 4 rebounds from Nino Canaleta.
Manila SV Batang Sampaloc dumped Quezon City TODA Aksyon, 76-57, behind Francis Escandor and Ahmad Didat Hanapi in the opener to post its third straight win and rise to 8-4.

Escandor hit 5 of 6 triple tries and finished with 19 points plus 4 rebounds and 2 assists while Hanapi ended up with 14 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. James Sena chalked 10 points and 3 rebounds while Carl Bryan Cruz added 9  points and 7 rebounds for Manila, which stormed ahead at 62-40, early in the fourth quarter.

Fielded for just 12 minutes and 28 seconds, 7-footer Greg Slaughter settled for 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists for Manila, which got 12 assists and 6 rebounds from Enzo Navarro. Brandrey Bienes and Rafael Are scored 19 and 13 points, respectively, for Quezon City, which got clobbered off the boards, 33-53, and tumbled to 4-7.

MPBL Founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao watched the South Cotabato-Binan game along with his wife Jinkee and son Michael, who’s officially the team owner of the Warriors.

The MPBL goes to the Caloocan Sports Complex on Friday with a triple bill pitting Abra against Sarangani at 4 p.m., Quezon against Bicol at 6 p.m., and Paranaque against Caloocan at 8 p.m.

Caption: Justine Baltazar remains the Pampanga Giant Lanterns’ center of power.

Anonymous

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