MPBL: Pampanga defeats Valenzuela thanks to a big night from Cruz, Thompson

By Bob Guerrero on Aug 01, 2019 09:23 AM

"Coach Bong (Ramos) puts me in during those big moments and that gives me the confidence to take those kinds of shots." - Travis Thompson

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns - ADG Group of Companies rewarded the passion of a home crowd in the Angeles University Foundation Gymnasium with a stirring 77-74 victory over Valenzuela SPV Top Marketplace on Wednesday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup.

Mark Cruz and Travis Thompson scored 17 and 11 points, respectively and were awarded co-best players of the game as Pampanga claims bragging rights along the NLEX.

Thompson hit a huge insurance triple with 2 minutes to go to give the Pampangueños a 73-66 lead.

"Coach Bong (Ramos) puts me in during those big moments and that gives me the confidence to take those kinds of shots," said the Fil- Am gunner.

Cruz was also clutch, coolly dispatching four pressure-packed charities in the dying seconds to help confirm the victory.

Although Thompson and Cruz were key offensively, it was a late defensive play that really locked up the win.

Up by one, 75-74 with under 40 seconds left the Lanterns were unable to score. The Classic won the battle for the rebound and their star Paolo Hubalde was off to the races on the backcourt. But Thompson alertly dislodged the ball from Hubalde, and it fell to Cruz. Cruz was fouled in that possession, and hit his charities. In the last play of the game Classic shooter Chris De Chavez missed a triple that would have forced overtime.

Pampanga improves to 5-3 while Valenzuela goes below .500 at 4-5.

The 6:30 pm match-up saw the Manila Frontrow Stars dispose of the Marikina Shoemasters, 107-95.

Carlo Lastimosa exploded for 22 points while all five Manila starters, Marvin Hayes, Gian Abrigo, Chris Bitoon, Aristotle Dionisio, and Marvin Lee all hit double figures.

The Mariqueños, now 0-7, actually led by as much as seven in the first quarter, before Manila turned on the afterburners in a 31-point second period and never looked back. Manila boosts their standing to 7-1.

Marikina got a big 24-point evening from Yves Sazon in defeat.

In the afternoon game, the Bulacan Kuyas gutted out an 87-82 win over the Biñan City Krah Heroes.

Dan Sara and Gwyne Capacio came up large for the Kuyas down the stretch. Sara scored six straight points in the last two minutes, including an acrobatic stab off the glass, to give Bulacan an 84-82 lead with just over a minute to play.

A rattled Biñan team committed a 24-second violation in their next possession and when Bulacan got the ball, it was not wasted. Capacio swished in an open triple from the right flank to settle the contest. Capacio scored all of his 11 points in the fourth, which included three treys. Sara finished with 14 points while Biñan's lead gunner was Macky Acosta with 18.

Bulacan is now sporting a 4-4 slate while the Laguneños are at 3-6.

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