Baltazar Justine Baltazar reigns underneath for Pampanga.

Baltazar shatters record as Pampanga extends MPBL run

June 1, 2023 People's Tonight 385 views

JUSTINE Baltazar shattered the rebound record as the Pampanga Giant Lanterns thwarted the Bataan Risers, 74-72, and remained unbeaten in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga.

The 6-foot-9 Baltazar snagged 27 rebounds (13 offensive and 14 defensive) to eclipse the 26 boards he jointly held with JR Taganas and play a pivotal role in Pampanga’s 10th straight win in the single round-robin elimination round of the 29-team tournament.

In addition, Baltazar, the league’s leading scorer (19.4) and rebounder (17.6) thus far, scored 13 points, issued 7 assists and rejected 2 shots for Pampanga, which trailed only defending champion Nueva Ecija (11-0) in the standings.

Jayson Castro Apolonio supported Baltazar, a former Gilas Pilipinas member, with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals and so did Archie Concepcion with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Bataan trailed by as many as 14 points and was behind, 55-66, with 4 minutes and 55 seconds left.

Ernesto Bondoc, however, drilled 2 triples in a 10-3 spurt to put the Risers closer, 65-69.

Pampanga’s Raymund Binuya then drove in at the 1:08 mark, but Bataan countered with a 7-2 salvo, capped by Yves Sazon’s triple that pushed the Risers within 72-73 with 3 seconds to go.

Baltazar got fouled on the ensuing play, made his first free throw and missed the second, but grabbed the record-setting rebound as time expired.

Sazon wound up with 16 points and James Castro 13 for Bataan, which fell to 6-6.

In other games, the Pasay Voyagers repelled the Manila Stars, 77-70, while the Makati OKBet Kings routed the Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc., 86-60.

Pasay climbed to 8-3 behind Laurenz Paul Victoria’s 16 points, Axel Inigo’s 13, AJ Coronel’s 11 and Dhon Reverente’s 10 points.

Manila, which got 11 points each from Jonathan Bailon, Julius Pasculado and Adrian Celada.

Taking charge from the get-go, Makati surged beyond reach at 72-42 before coasting to its 7th win against 4 losses.

Robby Celiz led Makati with 15 points, followed by Billy Robles and Marco Sario with 14 each, and Matthew Daves with 11.

Valenzuela, which skidded to 1-11, got 11 points from Mchael Angelo Macion and Allan Richard Martin and 10 from Luis Tapenio.