Batangas weathers Muntinlupa storm to close in on inaugural MPBL title

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 14, 2018 10:27 PM
Batangas weathers Muntinlupa storm to close in on MPBL title
Top-seed Batangas remains undefeated in the playoffs and remains the favorite for the inaugural championship of the MPBL

Staying spotless in the playoffs of the inaugural Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Rajah Cup, Batangas is getting closer and closer to history.

Drawing big-time contributions from their bench, the Athletics endured late-charging Muntinlupa, 78-74, on Saturday in their home court Batangas City Coliseum to march forward to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Finals.

Jhaymo Eguilos topped the scoring column with 16 points and was flanked by reserves Val Acuna and Moncrief Rogado who had nine markers apiece.

Top gun Teytey Teodoro also had nine points, including the game-sealing free throws in the last 17 seconds as the home team counted six players who had at least seven points.

Still, it was the Cagers who were in command after the opening salvo, leading 14-13.

Batangas started the second with nine unanswered points, however, to mount a 22-14 edge they would never relinquish.

Fueled by that rush, in all, nine different players got together for a 25-10 quarter and a 38-24 lead.

Muntinlupa had for itself an uprising in the endgame and pulled to within 74-75 with 28 ticks to go on the clock, but Teodoro three free throws and a couple of defensive stops boosted the Athletics to the win.

Now, the tournament’s top-seed will try to wrap up the series sweep in Muntinlupa’s home court on Tuesday.

Chito Jaime paced the Cagers with 18 points while Allan Mangahas and Dave Moralde both chipped in 15 markers.

With their rally falling short, however, they are one loss away from being runners-up in the inaugural MPBL Anta Rajah Cup.

BOX SCORES

BATANGAS 78 – Eguilos 16, Acuna 9, Teodoro 9, Quinto 9, Rogado 9, Olayon 7, Varilla 6, Grimaldo 4, Santos 4, Alvarez 3, Villamor 2

MUNTINLUPA 74 – Jaime 18, Mangahas 15, Moralde 15, Llagas 9, Buenaflor 6, Ylagan 5, Reverente 4, Apreku 2, Vergara 0, Salaveria 0, Stevens 0

QUARTER SCORES: 13-14, 38-24, 60-46, 78-74

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