Lander Canon was the "magic bunot" as the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors shrugged off the challenge from Nueva Ecija ForestLake to win 85-72 in Wednesday's play date of the Maharika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.
Pasig makes it back-to-back wins after beating QC last week. This time it was in front of another huge crowd at the Pasig City Sports Complex.
The gangly Canon, a true Pasig homegrown player, led his team in rebounding with eight boards and added 10 points to earn the player of the game award while Robbie Manalang topscored for the Realtors with 17 markers.
"Naglaro kami as one. Sinunod ang utos ng coach at nagpakita kami ng effort sa defense. Defense ang nagpanalo," said Canon after the game.
Leading 24-18 in the second, Pasig embarked on a dazzling 15-2 run with triples from Jeric Teng and Francis Adriano and baskets from Canon and Manalang to lead, 39-20. At the half Pasig was in the driver's seat, 43-25.
Nueva Ecija made little headway in the third as the period ended with Pasig up 65-48.
In the fourth period Marlon Monte of Nueva Ecija found his rhythm and was instrumental in leading an alarming 13-1 surge alongside Levi dela Cruz to pull ForestLake to within nine, 72-63.
However, Jeric Serrano played the role of fireman for the home team, with a pair of lay-ups and a couple of free throws in a 10-0 run that iced the game.
Pasig is now sporting an 8-3 slate and have doubled their win total from last season. The Ecijanos, in contrast, are struggling at 2-8.
In the evening's second game Bataan Risers feasted from three-point range against an overmatched Caloocan Victory Liner zone defense to win 90-77. The Supremos' five-game win streak ends with the defeat.
The Risers led 48-31 at the half, with Jai Reyes already scoring 16 points. The former Blue Eagle hit three more triples in the third quarter, with Chito Jaime and Anton Asistio also knocking in attempts from rainbow country as the lead bloated to 71-46 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Risers took their foot off the gas in the last period but still won comfortably.
Reyes was Bataan's scoring leader with 26 points on 7 for 11 from beyond the arc. Chito Jaime helped out with 14 points. Almond Vosotros, fresh from a 35-point output against Paranaque, led Caloocan with 23 points.
Bataan's superb defense forced 20 Caloocan turnovers, 11 more than what was committed by the Risers.
Bataan moves to 6-5 in the standings with a second straight victory while Caloocan is back at .500 at 6-6.
The afternoon game saw the Pampanga Giant Lanterns - ADG Group of Companies deliver the goods when it mattered most: in the last few minutes. The Kapampangan side took out Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines 83-74 to edge up the standings with a 7-4 card.
The Laterns liked their chances up 59-50 heading into the last segment of the game, but shock trooper Eric Miraflores and Jhong Bondoc were on target to close the gap.
Pampanga was hanging on to a 68-66 lead with under four minutes to go when "Ant Man" Mark Cruz drilled in a triple to give his team a five-point cushion. Minutes later Cruz was pivotal in an 8-0 run that padded the Giant Lanterns' lead to 81-71 with just over a minute to go, effectively sealing the win.
Mike Juico was a force all game long, finishing with 19 points and ten rebounds to lead the Giant Lanterns. Cruz ended up with 15 points. Bondoc was tops for Navotas with 14, as Gabby Severino's men slide to 2-7.