MPBL: Iloilo grabs massive road win at Manila thanks to Jeruta and de Leon

Bob Guerrero on Aug 27, 2019 08:42 AM
MPBL: Iloilo grabs massive road win at Manila
"Pinraktis naman namin ang kailangan naming gawin para sa game na ito, ang tinuro ni Coach Eric. Nagtiwala lang kami sa system nina coach Eric and Nash." - Aaron Jeruta (File photo courtesy of the MPBL).

A large and partisan crowd of Manileños was silenced on Monday night at the San Andres Sports Complex when their club, the Manila Stars - Frontrow, fell to a tenacious Iloilo United Royals 88-85 in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

The Ilonggos improve to 7-4 at the expense of Manila, now 9-2, despite seeing their coach Eric Gonzales get ejected in the third period.

"Pinraktis naman namin ang kailangan naming gawin para sa game na ito, ang tinuro ni Coach Eric. Nagtiwala lang kami sa system nina Coach Eric and Nash," explained homegrown Iloilo guard Aaron Jeruta afterwards, referring to assistant Nash Racela. Jeruta finished with 16 points, second only to Samboy de Leon among the Royals.

Manila held the halftime lead at 40-36 largely thanks to Chris Bitoon's 11 points. The ponytailed guard delivered some shake-and-bake moves that enthralled the big crowd.

The game's most bizarre moment occured with 6:40 left in the third and the Stars up, 45-42. Iloilo head coach Eric Gonzales walked on to the playing area while play was ongoing and impeded a Manila ball-carrier in the backcourt. Benches emptied and tempers flared briefly but after a lengthy review Gonzales was thrown out as well as a member of the Manila staff.

Manila held a five point lead, 69-64, after the third on Ronnie Matias' triple as time ran out. Then in the fourth quarter Iloilo uncorked an 13-5 run off production from de Leon, Richard Escoto, and Donald Gumaru to seize an 84-82 lead with just over a minute left. That set up a nervous finish where Bitoon wasted a pair of gilt-edged chances, and Escoto flubbed two charities.

A pair of free throws from de Leon gave the visitors an 87-82 lead with 18 ticks left, and not even a late Carlo Lastimosa triple could save Manila.

Bitoon led Manila with 20 points as the Stars stumble in their quest to keep pace with San Juan in the North Division.

Meanwhile, the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay surged to 6-3 with a decisive 77-67 win over Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines. Batangas big Raymo Eguilos bagged player of the game honors with 9 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Rum City was the dominant team for most of the first three quarters. A Ryan Costelo jumper pulled Family's Brand Sardines within shouting distance, 45-59 early in the fourth.

But from then on Batangas went on a 7-1 binge keyed by an Eguilos trey that gave them a 22 point lead with five minutes to go that put the game.out of reach. Costelo continued scoring as Zamboanga put up a belated run but his 12 point total was not enough and they fall to 6-6.

Lester Alvarez led the Athletics with 14 points while Allan Santos was the leading points producer for Zamboanga.

In the afternoon matchup the Biñan City Krah Heroes' superior endgame composure spelled the difference as they dealt Valenzuela SPV Top Marketplace to an 8th straight setback, 89-84.

The Laguna side led at the half 46-38 thanks to a 27 point second quarter fueled by James Mangahas, who led all scorers through the first half with 14.

Paolo Hubalde proved his pedigree with ten points in the third quarter as Valenzuela rallied to take a 67-63 lead into the final ten minutes.

Three straight triples, one from Clark Bautista and two from John Rivera, got Biñan back in front 79-76 midway through the fourth.

But inspired play by x Cabrera gave the Classic another deadlock at 84-all with a minute and a half left. Biñan, however, would not be denied. An Acosta layup off the glass and then a Kyle Neypes undergoal stab off an Allan Mangahas drop pass provided the final points.

James Mangahas owned the first half but brother Allan Mangahas bossed the second and finished with 20 points and 10 dishes as Biñan goes to 5-8. Hubalde's 19 points is not enough for victory and Valenzuela slumps to 4-9.

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