Baltazar Pampanga star Justine Baltazar defies gang of Pasay defenders.

Pampanga, Batangas rev up MPBL drive

May 22, 2024 People's Tonight 173 views

DEFENDING champion Pampanga thwarted Pasay while inaugural titlist Batangas escaped past Quezon City on Monday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season elimination round at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Powered by reigning MVP Justine Baltazar, the Pampanga Giant Lanterns bested the Pasay Voyagers, 70-65, in the nightcap and climbed to a 7-1 card, the same record as the Batangas City Tanduay Rum Masters, who rose from the grave to force overtime and nip Quezon City TODA Aksyon, 76-73.

Pampanga and Batangas are right behind 6-0 pacesetters Binan, Neva Ecija, Quezon and San Juan in the standings.

Trailing, 53-61, with only 45.1 seconds to go, the Rum Masters dropped 10 points on a triple by Levi Hernandez, a four-point play by Jong Baloria and another triple by Mark Dela Virgen against two free throws by Rafael Are to knot the count at 63.

The Rum Masters then leaned on back-to-back triples by Hernandez and another by Dela Virgen to take control, 72-67, with 2 minutes and 8 seconds to go in the extension.

Quezon City moved to within 73-74 following two charities by Abdul Sawat, but Hernandez responded with two free throws to seal Batangas’ victory and pull down QC to 3-5.

Virtually unstoppable, the 6-8 Baltazar posted 21 points, 20 rebounds and 2 assists to spearhead the Giant Lanterns, who also drew 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals from Kurt Reyson.

Homegrown MJ Garcia provided support with 9 points and 3 rebounds and so did Archie Concepcion with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Pasay even led, 38-33, early in the third quarter before Reyson found his range and poured 11 points to push Pampanga ahead, 50-48, at the end of the period.

Routed off the boards, 39-57, the Voyagers tumbled to 5-3 despite the 14-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist effort of Laurenz Victoria, the 13-point, 5-rebound output of Warren Bonifacio and the 11-point, 5-rebound, 4-assist, 3-steal line of Patrick Skeat.

In the opener, the Negros Muscovados blitzed the Iloilo United Royals in the second quarter en route to a 72-66 victory that raised their record to 4-5.

The game was tight, 17-14, until Negros, powered by the 9 points of Bill Geolingo and the back-to-back triples of Jeremy Cruz, poured 28 points against Iloilo’s 8 to pull away, 45-22, and was never headed.

Cruz wound up with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals, followed by Jefferson Comia with 11 points plus 9 rebounds, and Hubert Cani with 10 points and 3 rebounds.

Making only 1 of 17 triple attempts, Iloilo tumbled to 2-6.

The Royals got 14 points and 5 rebounds from Gwyne Capacio, 13 points, 7 assist and 6 rebounds from Shaquille Imperial, 12 points plus 3 rebounds from Mark Nonoy, and 11 points plus 11 rebounds from CJ Cansino.

The scores: 

First game

Negros (72)– Cruz 15, Comia 11, Cani 10, Geolingo 9, Palma 8, Una 5, Ramos 5, Capobres 4, Longa 3, Atabay 2, Ludovice 0, Antiporda 0, Bacay 0, Alcaide 0, Pascual 0.
Iloilo (66)– Capacio 14, Imperial 13, Nonoy 12, Casino 11, Diaz 5, Catapusan 4, Berjay 2, Credo 2, Doliguez 2, Javelosa 1, Kapunan 0, De La Rosa 0, Gomez 0, Etrata 0, Rangel 0.
Quarterscores: 14-10, 46-27, 58-47, 72-66.

Second game

Batangas (76) — Dela Virgen 19, Hernandez 13, Isit 9, Porter 8, Ochea 8, Baloria 8, Cruz 4, Ambulodto 4, Apinan 3, Oliva 0, Arim 0, Alarcon 0, Importante 0, Asuncion 0, Lunor 0.
Quezon City (73) — Yambing 19, R.Are 18, Ballesteros 11, M.Are 8, Mosqueda 5, Roman 4, Desoyo 3, Tibayan 3, Sawat 2, Cosari 0, Josef 0, Tauto-An 0, Cauilan 0, Bienes 0, Gesalem 0.
Quarterscores: 6-12, 21-28, 41-46, 63-63, 76-73.

AUTHOR PROFILE