Nueva Ecija outplays Batangas

June 20, 2023 People's Tonight 393 views

THE Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards drew firepower from Roi Sumang and tripped the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics, 68-56, on Monday in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Sumang poured all of his 16 points in the second half as the defending champions shattered a 31-31 tie at halftime and proceeded to notch their 13th win against one loss in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Batangas’ Jeckster Apinan scored the third quarter’s first bucket, but Sumang drove in to trigger a 13-point Nueva Ecija avalanche from which the Athletics were never able to recover and suffer their third loss in 14 games.

The Athletics came to within 49-56 on Juneric Baloria’s 4-point cluster, only for Sumang, a former stalwart of the University of the East Red Wariors, to quash their hopes with back-to-back triples that gave the Rice Vanguards their biggest spread, 62-49, with 4 minutes and 35 seconds left.

Sumang’s 3 triples out of 5 tries and Chris Bitoon’s 2 of 3 performance enabled Nueva Ecija to score 24 points from long range that turned out to be decisive as Batangas could only convert 1 of 20 triple tries.

Mike Juico also delivered for Nueva Ecija coach Jerson Cabiltes with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 stealsand so did Bitoon with 10 points plus 3 assists.

Batangas, the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup inaugural titlist, got 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals plus 3 assists from Apinan, and 14 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals from Baloria.

The Nueva Ecija-Batangas encounter was halted for nearly 30 minutes after the break as a heavy downpour opened up roof leaks and damped some parts of the playing court. Fortunately, the rains stopped and MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes allowed the game to continue.

Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines overpowered Bataan, 74-55, earlier and climbed to 11-3.

Judel Fuentes, twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino and Dexter Maiquez carried the offensive load while new acquisition Joseph Gabayni reigned underneath as Zamboanga led from the start and was never threatened by Bataan, which tumbled to 6-9.

Fuentes fired a game-high 19 points, followed by Jaycee with 16 plus 7 assists and 6 rebounds, Jayvee with 13 points plus 5 rebounds, and Maiquez with 11 points plus 9 rebounds. Gabayni scored only 7 but compensated with 11 rebounds that gave Zamboanga a 49-36 edge off both boards.

The GenSan Warriors banked on John Wilson’s 19 points, laced by 5 triples, to nip the Iloilo United Royals, 86-84, and rose to 9-4 in the opener.

…Iloilo tasted its fifth straight defeat and fell to 5-10 despite the 25-point outburst of Joshua Flores,

The MPBL returns to the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan with a triple bill pitting Valenzuela against Bicol at 4 p.m., Pampanga against Rizal at 6 p.m., and Imus against San Juan at 8 p.m.