Batangas, Paranaque a win away from first-ever MPBL Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 05, 2018 11:27 PM
Batangas, Paranaque a win away from first-ever MPBL Finals
Top-seed Batangas and Cinderella team Paranaque are so close to the Finals they could both smell it. (Playoff bracket photo courtesy of MPBL Facebook page)

Batangas remains undefeated in the first-ever playoffs of the inaugural Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Rajah Cup.

Paul Varilla pumped in 17 points and four other teammates joined him in double-digits in an 80-75 decision for home team Athletics over Valenzuela in Game 1 of the semifinals on Thursday at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Flanking Varilla were Val Acuna who contributed 15 points; Bong Quinto who collected 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals; and Lester Alvarez and Jhaymo Eguilos who chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The home team was on-point from the get-go with a 30-8 start and in all, made good on 11 triples and converted 47 percent of their field goals.

Still, they needed until late in the endgame to put away the feisty Classic who were only down by six with 33 ticks to go.

Batangas would not let them come any closer, though, as a pair of splits from the stripe by Varilla sealed the deal.

Jeff Javillonar dropped a long-range missile in the dying seconds, but it proved to be meaningless as it was the Athletics who were celebrating a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three semis series.

This, after they swept Bataan in the quarterfinals.

Now, the top-seed in the tournament is a pristine 3-0 in the first-ever playoffs of the inaugural MPBL.

For Valenzuela, Adrian Celada topped the scoring column with 23 points.

In the other pairing, seventh-seed Paranaque made more magic happen by routing third-seed Muntinlupa, 84-59.

The Cagers were in the game for only the first three minutes, up 4-0, before Gab Dagangon and Daniel De Guzman merged for 17 points in a white-hot 27-4 blast that boosted the Patriots way ahead, 27-8.

They would never look back as Dagangon and De Guzman wound up with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Ryusei Koga top-scored with 24 points to go along with eight assists and four rebounds.

Paranaque was coming off an upset of second-seed Bulacan in the quarterfinals and is now one win away from an improbable Finals appearance.

Dave Moralde paced Muntinlupa with 16 points.

Muntinlupa and Valenzuela go back to the drawing board as they both try to bounce back in Game 2 on Saturday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex. Of course, all of the action will still be on S+A and S+A HD.

BOX SCORES

FIRST GAME

PARANAQUE 84 – Koga 24, Dagangon 18, De Guzman 14, Montilla 10, Arboleda 8, Vizcarra 4, Baloria 2, Villanueva 2, San Jose 2, Belorio 0, Flor 0, Del Rosario 0, Vidal 0, Justiniani 0

MUNTINLUPA 59 – Moralde 16, Apreku 13, Mangahas 11, Jaime 10, Vergara 5, Llagas 4, Ylagan 0, Reverente 0, Buenaflor 0, Stevens 0, Salaveria 0

QUARTER SCORES: 27-12, 50-28, 62-46, 84-59

SECOND GAME

BATANGAS 80 – Varilla 17, Acuna 15, Quinto 13, Alvarez 11, Eguilos 10, Teodoro 6, Olayon 4, Grimaldo 2, Santos 2, Rogado 0

VALENZUELA 75 – Celada 23, Javillonar 10, Argamino 8, Andaya 8, Ongteco 8, Acidre 6, Hubalde 5, Gimpayan 5, Ruaya 2, Arambulo 0, Carlos 0, Arellano 0

QUARTER SCORES: 30-8, 40-35, 57-51, 80-75

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