Laguna, Pampanga survive MPBL rivals in pair of thrilling matches

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 01, 2018 09:29 PM
Laguna, Pampanga survive MPBL rivals in thrilling matches
Laguna and Pampanga both dug deep for their respective wins

Home team Laguna and Pampanga pulled off similar thrilling victories over their respective rivals last Wednesday to keep their hopes alive for a playoff berth in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup in the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan.
 
Raymond Ilagan, a power forward with a decent touch from the perimeter, scored the Heroes’ last four points to tow the Heroes to a pulsating 76-72 triumph over undermanned Mandaluyong El Tigre.

With his team clinging to a shaky 73-72 lead, Ilagan received a cross court pass from Michael Mabulac and nailed a mid-range jumper from the right wing with 19 seconds to go.

The El Tigre had a chance to knot the count at the other end, but Josan Nimes missed a potential game-tying triple from the left corner as Ilagan pulled down the rebound and was fouled in the process. He split his charities for the final tally.

Mandaluyong played without five key players in the lineup who are bound to join Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball league – Ray Parks Jr., Prince Rivero, JR Alabanza, and brothers Axel and Thomas Torres. The El Tigre also played without Mac Cuan, an assistant coach at Alab, and in his absence, his brother Japs took over.

Earlier, Pampanga survived Navotas, 89-88, in an equally exciting game.

The two teams which figured in a trade a few weeks ago were trying to measure which of them got the better end of the deal and Levi Hernandez, the player whom the Lanterns acquired in a trade with Marlon Gomez, proved his worth.

He came up with big plays, including a three-point basket off an inbound play that brought his team back to life from the brink of losing the match. His trey shoved the Lanterns within 88-86 with 20 seconds left.

For Navotas, the costly errors and two missed free throws from Jai Reyes led to their endgame meltdown.

A backcourt violation on Kris Porter off an inbound play allowed the Lanterns to map up a play and Juneric Baloria, who breezed past Donald Gumaru, picked up a foul from his man, resulting to two free throws that tied the game at 88-all.

In the next play, the Clutch turned the ball over and Hernandez, who stole the ball from Ron Dennison, was fouled during a breakaway play. He split his charities for the final tally.

But Navotas had several chances along the way as JImbo Aquino, who was fouled in Pampanga’s next play missed both charities and Reyes had to rush to the other end before he was fouled.

Reyes, normally a cool and calculating guard, missed both free throws before a jump ball situation was called by the referees during a rebound struggle. The possession arrow went to Navotas, which had the last crack of mapping up a play.

The play was intended for Dennison for an alley-oop, but it was tapped and went to Michole Sorela who missed a short stab as time expired.  

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