Juico Michael Juico delivers anew for Nueva Ecija.

Vanguards outplay Capitals

June 19, 2022 People's Tonight 543 views

NUEVA Ecija and Batangas continued to tread the clean road in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Extreme on Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

The star-studded Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards gave the Quezon City Capitals a rude welcome, 93-77, while the Batangas City Embassy Chill thwarted the Bacolod Bingo Plus, 72-66, for their fifth straight wins and a share of top spot in the 22-team tournament.

Also with a 5-0 card is the idle Sarangani Marlins.

Juneric Baloria provided instant offense when he was fielded by Coach Cholo Villanueva as Batangas pierced the tight defense put up by Bacolod, which tasted defeat for the first time in five starts.

Donning a face shield to protect a still healing broken nose, Baloria made 9 points in just 9 minutes and 31 seconds of play to complement the 18-point, 8-rebound controibution of Cedrick Ablaza and the 15-point output of Levi Hernandez.

Bacolod drew 16 points and 9 rebounds from Edrian Lao, 16 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds from Alwyn Alday and 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists from Richard Albo.

As predicted, Nueva Ecija overpowered Quezon City, the last team to play this season and is still wanting in cohesion.

Michael Juico led the Rice Vanguards with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists and got ample help from Bobby Balucanag, Pamboy Raymundo, Jay Collado, Jonathan Uyloan, Will McAloney and JR Taganas.

Balucanag contributed 11 points and 5 rebounds, Raymundo chipped in 10 points and 5 assists, Collado posted 9 points and 10 rebounds and Jonathan Uyloan added 9 points.

McAloney and Taganas have 7 points and 8 rebounds each for Nueva Ecija, which also drew 6 points from Top Gun John Bryon Villarias.

Nueva Ecija sealed the outcome with still 3:09 left as it zoomed ahead, 85-65, on a layup by Balucanag.

Valenzuela XUR Homes banked on veteran Ronjay Buenafe to subdue Caloocan Victory Liner, in the nightcap of another triple-bill and rise to 4-2. Caloocan tumbled to 1-2.

Buenafe drilled in back-to-back triples in the second half to wind up with 15 points and spark Valenzuela which rallied to tie Caloocan at halftime, 33-33.

Former PBA slam dunk champion Cyrus Baguio returned from a year-long retirement to join Buenafe and Patrick Cabahug, in the Valenzuela roster. Cabahug scored 10 points while Baguio made 7 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound and 1 block in his MPBL debut.

Andrey Armenion fired a team-high 17 points while Lord Hower Casajeros added 12 for Valenzuela.

Caloocan drew 24 points from Paolo Javillonar.

The MPBL plays at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex for the first time on Monday.

Unbeaten Zamboanga (3-0) tangles with Marikina (1-4) at 7 p.m. while Imus (1-3) tackles Makati (1-4) at 9 p.m.