THE Bacoor Strikers showed collective effort is better than individual brilliance as they stunned the San Juan Knights, 69-66, i in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Getting 19 points from Mark Montuano and six other players, the last four from Lester Reyes and Salvador Galit, the Strikers negated the 11-point fourth quarter explosion of Judel Fuentes to post their third win in eight starts and stay in contention for a quarterfinals berth in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament.
A jumper by Fuentes pushed San Juan Go for Gold ahead, 66-64, with 1:30 left.
The Strikers kept their poise, however, as Reyes drove in and Galit nailed the go-ahead jumper that also turned out to be the game’s final basket with 37 seconds to go.
San Juan saw its three-game run broken and dropped to 6-5.
Montuano presided over Bacoor’s offense with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Galit chipped in 10.
Reyes contributed nine points and 11 rebounds as the Strikers ruled the boards, 51-47.
Fuentes wound up with 20 points and Orlan Wamar 16 for San Juan.
As expected Bataan and Sarangani prevailed in the opener and nightcap of the three-game bill.
The Bataan Risers, riding the 24-point output of James Darwin Castro, cruised to a 79-70 victory over the Laguna Krah Heroes to rise to 7-2 while pulling down their victims to 1-9.
The Marlins, drew 23 points from Paul Sanga and 13 points plus eight rebounds from Gabby Espinas to subdue the Muntinlupa Cagers, 67-55, and climb to 8-2.
Muntinlupa, which dropped to 2-5, got 15 points from Domark Matillano, 12 from Biboy Enguio and 11 from Ivan Villanueva.
The MPBL returns to the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga, for another triple-bill.
Lowly teams Imus (2-7) and Mindoro (1-11) clash at 5 p.m., followed by the 7 p.m. tussle between Pasig (6-3) and Bacolod Bingo Plus (6-4).
Batangas dangles its 10-0 card against Pampanga at 9 p.m.