Manila topples top-seeded Bataan to make MPBL North finals

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 02, 2019 06:20 PM
Manila topples top-seeded Bataan to make MPBL North finals
Manila upset top-seeded Bataan to make the finals of MPBL North

The Manila Stars edged home team, heavily favored, and top-seeded Bataan Risers, 56-51, last Monday at the People's Center in Balanga to set up a best-of-three showdown with the San Juan Knights in the MPBL Datu Cup.

Engaged in a defensive struggle with the Risers, the Stars got a timely explosion from Riel Cervantes who unloaded 18 of his 20 points in the second half, highlighted by two triples in the final two minutes.

Those two triples, the first one at the 2:34 mark that gave the Stars a 51-45 lead and the other one with 1:09 left that put Manila ahead, 54-47, practically took the fight out of the Risers.

“Nakakuha lang ako ng momentum kaya mas nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa tumira,” said Cervantes.

Manila found a way to win despite shooting only 50-percent from the foul line (12-of-24) as Bataan had a more horrendous stint shooting from the foul line of its home floor, making only 37-percent (10-of-27).

Head coach Philip Cezar of Manila believes his team won because of the extra effort on the defensive end.

“Yung pressure defense naming sa backcourt and yung extra effort namin sa rebound, malaking bagay yun,” he added.

Marvin Hayes grabbed 16 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end as he led the Stars in getting more second chance points. Manila had 19 second chance points, 11 more than its rival.

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