The Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors strengthened their drive to the playoffs on Tuesday with a solid 69-63 win against the Marikina Shoemasters in the Maharika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.
Former Mapua standout Josan Nimes tallied 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead his club in both categories.
Sta. Lucia is now at 13-7 while the hapless cobblers, playing in front of their home fans at the Marikina Sports Center, slide to 3-17.
"We just focused on defense, we didn't even work on our offense in practice," admitted Nimes after his team triumphed in the game for bragging rights across M.H. Del Pilar street in Barangay Calumpang.
The Realtors held the Mariquenos to just 36 percent from the field.
The game began promisingly for Marikina, with Von Tambeling and Daryl Pascual performing well in the first half as they trailed 33-29.
In the third Marikina got to within one, 46-45 off a Pascual free throw. Pascual was effective in the fourth as well, keeping the Shoemasters close, and when JJ Espanola hit a lay-up with 39 seconds left, the Pasig lead was down to 3, 63-60.
In the next play Nimes drove hard to the cup and ball-faked around two defenders to lay the rock in for a 65-60 lead, and Marikina coughed the ball up on their next play, allowing Argel Mendoza to skate through for the final nail in the coffin, a lay-up for 67-60 with 18 ticks left.
Pascual's 20 points and 10 rebounds led the Shoemasters.
Pasig were without the services of Jeric Teng, but Leo Najorda played and chipped in 12 useful points.
In the second match-up of the day, the Gensan Warriors - Burlington mastered the Bacolod Master Sardines 87-68 to elevate their record to 15-6.
The Negrenses led 24-20 after one quarter but Gensan trampled over Bacolod in the next quarter, 20-9, with Pamboy Raymundo scoring six points.
In the third, the Bacolodnon defense surrendered 29 points with Burlington's Jeramar Cabanag dropping in three triples to put the game out of reach, 69-50, with 10 minutes still left to play.
Robbie Celiz topscored for Gensan with 15 points while Paolo Javelona's 21 points for his hometown Bacolod team was not enough to avert a loss.
The Warriors surge to 15-6 while Bacolod falls to 6-14.
In the early game the 1Bataan Risers roared back from 17 points down to stun neighbors Pampanga Giant Lanterns - ADG Group of Companies, 77-76.
The Risers win the battle for bragging rights across the Palakol River for a 6th straight win.
Riser Joseph Nalos scored only two points in the game, but they were important ones: the game winning jumper with one second left.
Pampanga was very much in command at the half, 44-30.
However, 1Bataan's Byron Villarias netted seven markers in the third quarter to drag his team to within five, 58-53, heading into the final segment.
The Risers' new pick up Achie Iñigo hit back-to-back three-bombs early on to give 1Bataan a 64-60 lead and cap an 11-2 run. Iñigo would corral another triple for 67-64 minutes later. Bataan even took a 71-64 lead with four minutes remaining on Josemari Presbitero's bucket.
Giant Lantern Dexter Maiquez produced three baskets down the stretch, none bigger than a go-ahead layup for a 76-75 advantage with 43 ticks to go.
But that only set up Nalos' big game-winning play.
The Risers streak to 13-8, led by Villarias' 20 points. Maiquez topped the scoring charts for Pampanga with 17, but his team drops to 13-8.