Villarias John Bryon Villarias finds range for Nueva Ecija.

Vanguards trounce Coolers

April 2, 2023 People's Tonight 463 views

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards needed just one scoring spurt to trounce the Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers, 87-70, late Friday and assume solo leadership in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Surprisingly trailing Rizal, 33-36, defending champion Nueva Ecija bunched 10 points on back-to-back triples by John Bryon Villarias and Pamboy Raymundo, a layup by JayR Taganas and a jumper by Raymundo to seize control at 43-36 and never let go en route to its fourth straight win in the 29-team tournament.

It was Will McAloney, however, who led Nueva Ecija’s offense with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, followed by Villarias with12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

Mike Juico contributed q1 points while Chris Bitoon and homegrown Bobby Balucanag chipped in 9 points each for Nueva Ecija Coach Jerson Cabiltes.

Hounded by poor field goal shooting (25 out of 63 attempts), the Golden Coolers suffered their fourth straight defeat and became the first team to drop a homecourt assignment.

Rizal got 13 points and 8 rebounds from Troy Mallillin, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals from Edgar Charcos and 10 points plus 3 rebounds from Art Patrick Aquino.

Earlier, the Bulacan Kuyas thwarted the Makati OKBet Kings, 76-72, and the Imus SV Squad drubbed Quezon City Gaz N Go, 79-58.

Bulacan banked on Levi Dela Cruz, Kentoy Segura, Gwyne Capacio and Jerick Nacpil to climb to 4-1, while Imus leaned on the 15-point, 20-rebound effort of Jaymar Gimpayan to rise to 2-1.

De la Cruz posted 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Segura 14 points, Capacio 12 points plus 6 rebounds, and Nacpil 10 points and 9 rebounds as the Kuyas handed the Kings their first loss in two games.

Makati got qq points from Matthew Daves and 10 points from RJ Ramirez, who dished off 5 assists, grabbed 3 rebounds and stole twice.

The high-flying Gimpayan was supported by Carlo Lastimosa with 11 points, Bryan Faundo with 10 points, and slam dunk sensation Popoy Actub with 9 points for Imus.

Quezon City absorbed its third straight defeat after an initial win despite the 15-point, 5-rebound effort of Eduardo Dorteo.

The MPBL returns to the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City with Pasig battling Paranaque at 4 p.m., Bacolod tackling Bataan at 6 p.m. and Bicol tangling with Quezon at 8 p.m.