MPBL: Pampanga battles Marikina, Pasig tackles Caloocan

October 5, 2023 People's Tonight 361 views

THE Pampanga Giant Lanterns aim to extend their home court dominance when they tackle the Marikina Shoemasters at 8 p.m. on Friday at the start of the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season playoffs at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City.

Caloocan and Pasig MCW Sports collide in another quarterfinal tussle at 6 p.m.

Unbeaten in 11 home games in the round-robin elimination round, where they emerged with the best overall record of 26-2, the Giant Lanterns are favored to duplicate their 83-75 victory over the Shoemasters on May 19 and move within a win of cinching their best-of-three series in the North division.

Towering Justine Baltazar will again be the Giant Lanterns’ go-to guy, having posted 16 points, 26 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks in their first encounter with the Shoemasters, who took the eighth and last playoff slot in the North with a 16-12 card.

Also expected to deliver for Pampanga coach Gov. Dennis Pineda are Encho Serrano, Archie Concepcion and MJ Garcia.

Marikina Coach Elvis Tolentino will be leaning on Joe Gomez De Liano, Felipe Chavez, RR Casajeros and RV Berjay in trying to topple the Giant Lanterns, who boast 8 players standing 6-foot-5 and taller.

Although Pasig subdued Caloocan in the eliminations, 82-74, in the eliminations on May 10, the veteran-laden Batang Kankaloo are expected to do better this time since Jeramer Cabanag, Paul Sanga, Riel Cervantes, Gabby Espinas, Mac Baracael, Ronnie Mathias and Irven Palencia have been playing in rhythm.

Pasig will be led by Ryan Paule Costelo, Kenny Roger Rocacurva and Jason Ballesteros.