Rizal John Apacible strikes for Rizal XentroMall.

Rizal, Quezon City score 2nd wins, Pampanga escapes

April 16, 2024 People's Tonight 235 views

RIZAL XentroMall sustained its strong start with a 71-69 dumping of Muntinlupa on Monday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Its morale boosted by an upset of defending national champion Pampanga last April 9, the Rizal Golden Coolers broke free midway of the fourth quarter en route to their second straight win in the 30-team tournament.

Alwyn Alday shone for Rizal, now being coached by Ralph Rivera, with 24 points, including 4 triples, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.

Other Golden Coolers who delivered were homegrown John Apacible with 18 points plus 5 rebounds, Keith Agovida with 12 points plus 3 rebounds, Kraniel Villoria with 9 points, 6 steals, 5 assists plus 4 rebounds, and Marco Balagtas with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Muntinlupa, which dropped to 0-2, got 15 points from Jasper Longalong and 13 points plus 9 rebounds from Joshua Guiab.

Pampanga barely avoided another setback through the heroics of Encho Serrano, who buried two free throws to seal the outcome, 86-85, with just a second left in the second game.

Carrying the offensive load in the absence of reigning league MVP Justine Baltazar, Serrano wound up with 29 points and two rebounds for the Giant Lanterns, who also drew 11 points and 13 rebounds from Jhaymo Eguilos and 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists from MJ Garcia.

Marikina fell to 0-2 despite the 27-point, incuding 7 triples, 5-rebound output of Marc Andrei Igliane. Homegrown Eloie Tan tallied 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals and 1 block for the Shoemasters.

Quezon City TODA Aksyon cruised past Imus Aguimat, 91-70, in the opener to likewise rise to 2-0.

Homegrown Kenji Roman paced a balanced Quezon City attack with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, followed by Edzel Mag-isa with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Chino Mosqueda, another homegrown, and Jonas Tibayan added 11 points each. High-flyer Rhinwill Yambing posted 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks for Quezon City Coach Egay Macaraya.

Imus, which absorbed its second straight loss, got 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals from John Rey Sumido, 12 points from Christian John Luengo, and 11 points plus 14 rebounds from Kenneth Estabillo.

Quezon City subdued Muntinlupa, 81-74, on April 10.

Also holding 2-0 records are Bataan, newcomer Abra, Zamboanaga, Batangas, Negros and Paranaque.

The MPBL goes to the Paco Arena on Wednesday with a triple-bill pitting Bacolod against Sarangani at 4 p.m., Bulacan against Pangasinan at 6 p.m., and Bataan against Manila at 8 p.m.