GENERAL Santos City and Pasig sustained their climb in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme with contrasting victories on Friday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
The GenSan Warriors leaned on Nico Elorde to nip the Marikina Shoemasters, 78-77, while the Pasig Realtors drew power from Rey Anthony Peralta to subdue the Caloocan Victory Liner Excellence, 96-82.
With Elorde, grandson of the late boxing great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde pouring 20 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, the Warriors extended their win-streak to eight and rose to 12-5 in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament.
Peralta, a former Perpetual Help Alta in the NCAA, fired 28 points and grabbed 4 rebounds as Pasig cruised to its fifth straight win and an 11-5 slate.
Other Realtors who shone were Nhomer Gonzales with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Raymond Casajeros with 11 points and 3 rebounds.
Muntinlupa trounced Mindoro, 91-59, in the nightcap to improve to 3-13 and pull down Mindoro to the cellar at 1-16.
Both GenSan and Pasig are assured of quarterfinal spots but are seeking to land in the top 4 of the South and North divisions to gain homecourt advantage.
Playing his best game in the MPBL thus far, Elorde, a former De La Salle Green Archer and Ateneo Blue Eagle, clustered 10 points in the home stretch as GenSan overhauled a 63-69 deficit with 7 minutes and 2 seconds to go.
Elorde, who made a perfect 11 of 11 free throws, was supported by Nikko Panganiban with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Brian Wendell Hilario and Jerie Pingoy with 10 points each.
Dhon Reverente scored only 6 points but snagged 14 rebounds and issued 5 assists for GenSan, which got 1 point, 4 rebounds and 2 steals from homegrown actor Gerald Anderson.
Marikina, which trailed 27-35 at halftime, drew 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds from Antonio Lorenzo Joson, 15 points and 13 rebounds from Nhomer Gonzales and 11 points from Raymond Casajeros.