MPBL: Pampanga wins at Muntinlupa thanks to superb Juico's 16-16 performance

Bob Guerrero on Sep 10, 2019 08:51 AM
 MPBL: Pampanga wins at Muntinlupa thanks to superb Juico
Mike Juico not only led Pampanga in scoring with 16 points, but he also pulled down 16 rebounds, as the Giant Lanterns won their third in a row.

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns - ADG Group of Companies continued their charge up the standings with a decisive 77-66 road win against Muntinlupa Cagers - Angelis Resort on Monday night at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

An appreciative crowd at the Muntinlupa Sports Center was not enough to lift the Cagers out of their funk as they lose a sixth straight game.

Mike Juico not only led Pampanga in scoring with 16 points, but he also pulled down 16 rebounds, astonishing for a guard, to top his team in that category as well.

The visitors made their big move in the second quarter, reeling off an 8-0 run featuring a Mark Cruz triple to lead 32-25. They ended the half up, 39-32.

In the third quarter Muntinlupa were keeping Pampanga in check, down 41-34, when ADG Group of Companies embarked on an 8-3 splurge with Reil Cervantes chipping in five points in that run. The third period ended with the Lanterns up 54-42.

A Biboy Enguio bucket early in the fourth got the Muntinlupenos within 9, 56-47, before yet another 6-0 run, capped by a stylish lay-up and bonus free throw from Cruz, put the Kapampangans up by 15 midway through the quarter. Cruz would hit another triple and ex-Cager Felix Apreku would add another two baskets to help put away Munti for good. Cruz ended up with 11 points.

There was a sour end to the game, as Giant Lantern Raymond Binuya and Cager John Genmar Ylagan were tossed with nine seconds left. Ylagan inadvertently put a forearm on Binuya while coming down from a rebound attempt. Moments later Binuya took exception and retaliated with a shoulder barge that prompted a weak punch from Ylagan. After a quick conference the officials gave both men disqualifying fouls.

Pampanga gain a third win in a row to climb to 9-4, good for 4th place in the North Division. Munti are in a free-fall at 3-11, second-to-last in the South. John Ortuoste and Enguio led them in scoring with 15 apiece.

The early evening game saw an inspired Iloilo United Royals team down Valenzuela Classic SPV Top Marketplace, 73-67, to advance to 8-5. It's only the Classic's second loss with Gerry Esplana at the sidelines this season, while Nash Racela gets his first win as the starting coach subbing for the suspended Eric Gonzales.

Richard Escoto was a one-man wrecking ball to the Valenzuela defense, compiling 20 points to go along with 5 rebounds.

The Royals led the contest all the way in a game that never had a lead change, although Reneford Ruaya did his best to keep Valenzuela close with a team-high 16 points. Iloilo led 33-30 at the half and that advantage ballooned to 51-41 after thirty minutes.

Escoto owned the fourth quarter, with 12 of his 20 points in the last 10 minutes, including a couple of triples. Ryan Arambulo's bucket with three minutes to go meant an unassailable 71-55 lead for the Visayans. Valenzuela scored 12 of the game's last 14 points but the late output was mere consolation. Classic ace Paolo Hubalde was shackled by a torrid Iloilo defense and he finished with just 6 points.

Valenzuela is now on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the North Division with a 5-10 card.

In the afternoon game Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines dispatched an overmatched Nueva Ecija ForestLake 109-85 to go to 8-7 and boost their drive for a playoff spot in the South division.

Family's Brand used a big 31-point 2nd quarter to take a 58-42 halftime lead. The Chavacanos shot a noteworthy 62 % from the field in the first 20 minutes, led by Robin Rono's 13 markers.

In the third period Zamboanga continued their barrage thanks in part to Ryan Costelo and Allan Santos as they took an 82-57 lead into the payoff canto.

In the fourth they coasted to victory. Rono and Choi Ignacio co-topscored for Zamboanga with 16 points, followed by 14 from Leo De Vera who also yanked down 12 rebounds and was given the best player of the game award.

Nueva Ecija slump to 2-10, with only Marikina below them in the North division. A bright spot for ForestLake was a pair of 14-point efforts from JR Cawaling and Jimbo Aquino.

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