Robles Robles in action. PSL photo

PSL: No stopping Nueva Ecija Capitals

December 7, 2023 Robert Andaya 230 views

THERE’S no stopping the Nueva Ecija Capitals.

Robby Celiz and Bill Ray Robles provided the 1-2 punch as the Capitalsmade it four wins in a row with an nspiring 76-63 victory over the Caloocan Supremos in the battle of unbeaten teams in the Pilipinas Super League (PSL) President’s Cup at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Celiz finished with a double-double performance of 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of action, while Robles contributed 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting and five rebounds for Nueva Ecija of businessman-sportsman Bong Cuevas and coach Jerson Cabiltes.

Will McAloney had eight points and five rebounds, Chris Bitoon chipped in eight points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and Roi Sumang had eight points and four assists for Nueva Ecija.

The Capitals, also known as the Rice Vanguards in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), also got seven points from Byron Vilarias.

It was the fourth straight winsl for Nueva Ecija.

Nueva Ecija also defeated JT Taipan Toda Aksyon Bulacan, 109-67, at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan last Nov.25; Alpha Omega Kings, 81-77, at the Caloocan Sports Complex last Nov. 28. and Davao Occidental Tigers Cocolife, 102-91 at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum last Dec. 2.

“It took an early lead sa second quarter and then they made a run 9-0 towards the late part of the second quarter, all because of our transition defense and lack of effort. So third quarter, medyo nagkaron kami ng drought sa offense namin, good thing for us the last group stepped up in the fourth quarter,” Cabiltes said

“Not to play down yung mga teams that we have played, syempre marami pang malalakas na team itong liga so we are looking forward to facing the strong teams,” added Cabiltes.

“Everytime we join the league gusto namin we are on top of it pero will take it one game at a time syempre target namin make it to the playoffs dun natin makikita yun,” Cabiltes

After trailing 48-52 at the beginning of the final frame, the Capitals staged a remarkable comeback behind a 13-2 run to regain control, 61-54, with 6:11 left.

The Capitals continued theirscoring spree until they established their largest lead, reaching 76-61 with just 30 seconds remaining.

The Capitals outplayed Caloocan in the last quarter, outscoring them 28-11.

Gabby Espinas led Caloocan in scoring with seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, shooting 6-of-7 from the field, and securing seven rebounds.

Reil Cervantes contributed 10 points, while Archie Iñigo added nine points and six assists in Caloocan’s losing effort.

Damian Lasco and Prince Casin had eight and seven points, respectively.

The scores:

Nueva Ecija Capitals (76) – Celiz 12, Robles 11, Mcaloney 8, Bitoon 8, Sumang 8, Vilarias 7, Doromal 5, Maguliano 4, Mabulac 4, Juico 4, Robin 2, Cosejo 2, Calo 1, Gurtiza 0, Collado 0
Caloocan Supremos (63) – Espinas 14, Cervantes 10, Iñigo 9, Lasco 8, Casin 7, Baracael 6, Bonsubre 3, Matias 2, Cabanag 2, Sanga 2, Palencia 0, Laude 0, Bulawan 0, Tayongtong 0
Quarterscores: 13-11, 38-37, 48-52, 76-63.