MPBL: Asistio and Villarias heat up as Bataan downs Zamboanga at home

Bob Guerrero on Aug 23, 2019 09:28 AM
MPBL: Hot-shooting Bataan stops Zamboanga
"Ang confidence ko galing sa coaches at teammates ko. Alam nila na ang strength ko is shooting. Yan ang hinahanap nila sa akin." - Anton Asisitio (Photo courtesy of the MPBL).

In an awesome display of long-range sniping, the Bataan Risers held off Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines 92-79 in Thursday night's featured game at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

Playing in front of their fans at the Bataan People's Center in Balanga, the Risers shot 50 percent from rainbow country, 13 from 26, to help bury the Mindanaoan team. Their shooting percentage from three-point land was nine percentage points better than their clip from within the arc.

Two names stood out for the home team: Byron Villarias and Anton Asistio. Villarias led all scorers with 23 points on six for eight shooting from three point range while Asistio was white-hot in the third quarter, hitting all five of his three-point attempts in a surreal 5-minute span where he picked up all 15 of his points.

"Ang confidence ko galing sa coaches at teammates ko. Alam nila na ang strength ko is shooting. Yan ang hinahanap nila sa akin," said the former Ateneo Blue Eagle.

Asistio's jaw-dropping outburst early in the third looked to have doomed Zamboanga, who trailed 35-53 at that juncture.

But Zamboanga who had shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half, suddenly found their groove and unspooled an astonishing 16-0 run to pull to within two, 53-51. Leading the way was a razor-sharp Ryan Costelo, who detonated with 19 points in the quarter including four triples of his own. Zamboanga scored 35 points in that quarter, 10 more than they amassed in the entire first half.

At the start of the fourth, it was anyone's game with Jong Uichico's men in front 64-60. But whatever momentum the visitors gained in the third vaporized in the last period. Buoyed by a throaty Bataeno crowd, Villarias scored eight points early on, Alvin Pasaol conributed seven and Bataan coasted to victory as Zamboanga ran out of steam. Costelo could only add one more point to his tally as he finished with 20 points.

Bataan level their record at 5-5 while Zamboanga, still missing injured cogs Harold Aroleda and Joseph Nalos, are at 6-5.

In the second match-up of the day new father Jopher Custodio was the hero as Bacolod Master Sardines emerged 69-68 victors over the Binñan City Krah Heroes. Custodio drained a top-of-the-key triple with 44 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner.

Custodio only arrived at halftime reportedly because he rushed to Balanga from a hospital in Quezon City, where his wife had just given birth. He finished with 5 points in 17 minutes of action.

Pao Javelona topscored for the Negrenses with 22 points along with 10 assists.

Outside-sniping Bacolod was level 52-52 with inside-banging Biñan after three quarters.

In a battle of former NU Bulldogs, Javelona dueled withy Krah's Kyle Neypes, and with under two minutes to go the score was knotted again at 66. After Custodio's triple, Biñan homegrown Allan Mangahas cut the deficit to 69-68 with an audacious drive down the middle. After Custodio missed on the next possession Macky Acosta flubbed a lay-up, but when the ball went out the refs reviewed the play and gave the ball to Krah with six tenths of a second left. Neypes' catch and shoot was no good and Bacolod escaped with the win to go to to 4-7. The Laguna side slips to 4-9.

Neypes paced the Heroes with 20 points.

In the first game on the day's schedule Iloilo United Royals used a ferocious fourth-quarter burst to dismiss the Marikina Shoemasters, 70-55.

The Mariqueños were competitive through the first 30 minutes, helped by a strong 19-point third quarter that left them level with the Royals at 44-44 entering the final canto.

But midway through the fourth Iloilo showed their class and ruthlessly pounded the Shoemasters to submission. Marikina's Daryl Pascual produced a layup to put them ahead 50-46 with six minutes to go. It would be the Shoemasters' last field goal of the game.

Iloilo went on a 24-5 run to finish the contest, highlighted by seven points from Samboy De Leon, a triple from Eric Rodriguez, and baskets and dimes from Aaron Jeruta.

Meanwhile on the flip side Marikina served up brick after brick. De Leon topped the scoring charts for Iloilo with 14, followed by Richard Escoto's 13. The Mariqueños could only shoot 27% from the field and were led by Yves Sazon's 15 markers.

The Ilonggos improve to 6-4 while Marikina continues to languish in the bottom of the North division with a 1-9 slate.

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