MPBL: Pampanga snaps Davao streak, stays unbeaten at home

Bob Guerrero on Sep 06, 2019 09:26 AM
 MPBL: Pampanga snaps Davao streak, stays unbeaten at home
"Kailangan idefend talaga ang home court namin, nakakahiya talaga sa mga taong nanonood, lalo na ang mga cabalen ko." - Mike Juico

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns - ADG Group of Companies upset the Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife 65-62 on Thursday night at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketbal League Lakan Season to keep their home record spotless this season.

The raucous capacity crowd at the Angeles University Foundation gym saw their hometown team outscore Davao, 22-13, in the fourth period to win their fourth home game in the Lakan Season.

"Kailangan i-defend talaga ang home court namin, nakakahiya talaga sa mga taong nanonood, lalo na ang mga cabalen ko," said player of the game Mike Juico, who came up large for the Giant Lanterns with a team-high 14 points.

Pampanga held their nerve in the dying minutes to advance to 8-4 while Davao Occidental's eight-game win streak is now history and they are now at 10-2.

The first half ended with the Tigers ahead, 31-23, largely thanks to 16 massive first-half points from Marco Balagtas.

Pampanga shot a paltry 22% from the field in the first 20 minutes and starter Juico picked up a very early third foul with a minute and half to go in the second quarter, adding to coach Bong Ramos' woes.

The Giant Laterns, egged on by their fans, reeled off a 10-0 third quarter run capped by a Jeric Fabian trey to draw level at 33-33. But DavOcc kept them at bay and entered the final quarter up 49-43.

In the fourth Reil Cervantes hit two triples and Levi Hernandez added another as the Giant Laterns chipped away at the Tigers' lead. They finally got a lead of their own when Felix Apreku hit both free throws to put the home side ahead 63-62 with a little over a minute to go.

In a madcap final minute Pampanga missed three tries and in the other end Cervantes blocked Mark Yee, and a jump ball ensued with six ticks left. The arrow favored the Giant Lanterns and they got a free throw from Hernandez in the next possession for 64-62 with 5 seconds left. Davao Occidental set up a poor inbounds play and Bon Custodio's pass was picked off by Hernandez. Juico's split from the line finished the scoring to the delight of the Pampangueno crowd.

Pampanga win despite shooting only 30% from the field. Reil Cervantes' 13 points was also huge for the Lanterns while on the flip side Balagtas led the Mindanaoans with 19 markers.

In the early evening match-up, another streak came to an end. Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines put their record of five straight losses in the rearview mirror with a stylish 88-82 win over the SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins Armor On.

The Navotenos held their composure in the endgame while winless SOCCSKSARGEN collapsed with a series of late errors.

Jhong Bondoc's 12 points was tops for Navotas but Kojak Melegrito got the nod for best player with 11 markers and 7 boards.

Navotas showed their class with a 31-point fourth quarter, but the Marlins were also their worst enemy. Down 85-80 with a minute and a half remaining SOCCSKSARGEN's Spencer John Eman butchered the simplest of open lay-ups. Moments later Jerome Juanico was called for traveling. Then in the next play Eman coughed up the ball again with a bad pass that went out of bounds.

Meanwhile, Omar Abdurasad piled on key baskets as Armor On committed two more turnovers to confirm the loss.

Jake Diwa scored 21 for the Mindanaoans while Juanico conributed 20, but the Marlins are still waiting for a first win after 11 games.

Navotas, meanwhile, can jumpstart their campaign with their 5-9 card.

In the afternoon game yet another streak was busted. The Valenzuela Classic SPV Top Marketplace snapped an 8-game skid and welcomed back coach Gerry Esplana with an impressive 73-67 win over Imus Bandera Khaleb Shawarma GLC Trucks and Equipment. Esplana led his team to victory after staying away from the club for about 2 months. He won despite not having either Dichaves brother at his disposal for this matchup.

Valenzuela improves to 5-9 while Imus slips to 3-7.

SPV Top Marketplace led 29-20 in an extremely attritional first half.

The fourth quarter began with the Classic up 46-42. Valenzuela's Erwin Sta. Maria was brilliant early in the period, stroking in a trio of three-balls early to match the Imus battery, consisting of a three-pointer from Gerald Anderson and another from Jojo Cunanan.

But it was ex-pro Paolo Hubalde who broke the backs of the Bandera with back-to-back drives that gave the Classic a 68-57 lead with two minutes left that sealed Imus' fate. Hubalde scored 14 points, 7 in the last ten minutes. Sta. Maria's 18 points led the Classic. Imus were bannered by Jeric Nacpil's 12 points. Anderson's 8 points was notable, especially since 6 came in the fourth period.

The MPBL takes a break on Friday and returns on Saturday with a doubleheader in Albay.

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