Quezon hangs tough

June 19, 2023 People's Tonight 330 views

QUEZON Province withstood Makati’s final assaults and prevailed, 80-72, in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.

Starting strong behind their outside shooting, the Huskers surged to a 37-20 spread before halftime only to be pursued relentlessly by the OKBet Kings, who threatened thrice in the fourth quarter the last at 72-75 following a 5-point cluster by Emman Calo with 39 seconds to go.

The Huskers, however, countered with a closing 5-point salvo to post their 10th win against four losses in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Raffy Verano again shone for Quezon with 16 points, 8 in the last quarter, and 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-3 former Ateneo Blue Eagle was supported by Alfrancis Tamsi with 13 points, laced by 3 triples, and homegrown Topeng Lagrama with 9 points, all from rainbow territory, and Mon Abundo with 8 points, four in the last 49 seconds.

The Huskers also drew 2 triples each from Verano and Robin Rono en route to a total of 13 out of 29 attempts.

Makati, which slipped to 9-5, got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Rob Celiz, 11 points and 12 rebounds from Billy Robles and 11 points plus 5 rebounds and 2 steals from Calo.

Earlier games saw Bacolod City of Smiles nip Bulacan, 85-84, following a short stab by John Cantimbuhan with only 1.4 ticks left, and Muntinlupa beat Negros, 77-71.

Powered by Val Chauca’s 22 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds, Bacolod climbed to 6-9, the same as Bulacan, which got 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists from Buenaventura Raflores.

Chauca, a Fil-Peruvian guard from the California Golden Bears, was backed by Regie Boy Basibas with 13 points plus 8 rebounds and Mark Sarangay with 11 points plus 5 rebounds.

Muntinlupa rose to 8-6 following the 12-point, 11-rebound, 5-assist, 4-steal output of John Delos Santos, the 12-point, 7-rebound effort of JP Sarao, the 12-point, 5-rebound contribution of John Amores, and the 11-point, 5-assist, 4-rebound line of John Abis.

Negros dropped to 5-10 despite Jason Melano’s 29-point, 11-rebound effort and Nemesis Dela Cruz’s 19-point, 7-rebound contribution.

The MPBL returns to the Batangas City Coliseum with a triple bill pitting Iloilo against GenSan at 4 p.m., Bataan against Zamboanga at 6 p.m., and Nueva Ecija against Batangas at 8 p.m.