Bataan keeps rising in MPBL
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 05, 2019 03:20 PM
Bataan remains the standard-setter in the 2018-2019 MPBL
The Bataan Risers are now beginning to pick up their second wind in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup, this after the squad posted yet another tough win last Monday at the packed People’s Center in Bataan.
Bataan has added Muntinlupa to its growing list of victims as the up and coming squad repulsed last season’s runner-up, 67-63, to continue staying on top of the standings.
The win enabled the Risers to improve their win-loss record to 19-2. They are the No.1 seed in the tough northern division and are already assured of a top four berth and home court advantage in the playoffs.
But head coach Jojo Lastimosa would rather want to see his team staying on top for a better reason.
“If we get the No.1 spot, we’ll be having home court advantage in each round in the playoffs,” added Lastimosa. “We want to win our remaining games as we want to carry the momentum all the way to the playoffs.”
Beating Muntinlupa was a great test and the Risers were able to live up to the challenge posed by the formidable Cagers team that battled the host squad toe-to-toe.
The biggest play of the night happened in the closing seconds of the game made possible by prized guard Yvan Ludovice.
Picked up in the free agency after being released by Pasay, Ludovice challenged the defense of Muntinlupa then fed Rob Celiz for the marginal basket that ensured the Risers’ victory.
Muntinlupa suffered its third straight loss and fell to a 12-8 card. It’s the second time this season that the Cagers have lost three in a row and the latest setback put them just half a game ahead of closest pursuer Batangas City Athletics in the southern division.
Earlier, Laguna turned to Ralph Olivarez and frontliner Raymond Ilagan as the Heroes outplayed the Valenzuela Classic, 74-66, in
Olivarez finished with 20 points while Ilagan had a double-double performance of 15 points and 17 rebounds as the Heroes stayed in the hunt for a playoff berth by improving their win-loss record to 10-13, good for eighth spot.
The loss was a crucial one for Valenzuela, which dropped to an 8-14 record and fell to 11th spot. Its chances of catching a top eight berth has been reduced from slim to none at all.