Gian Abrigo and Aris Dionisio shine as Manila are taken to the brink by a fiesty Navotas team.

Bob Guerrero on Sep 19, 2019 09:56 AM
MPBL: Manila hacks out tough home win vs stubborn Navotas
"Nahirapan talaga kami sa kanila. Sabi ni coach kailangan talaga natin ng stops, di pwede score lang." - Gian Abrigo (FILE PHOTO)

Manila Stars - Frontrow won the battle for bragging rights across Estero de Marala by defeating Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines 96-91 in Wednesday night action of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

The Stars go to 12-2 in front of their fans in the San Andres Gym, but the home team were pushed hard by a Navoteno side that provided a stiffer challenge than their 3-10 record suggests. "Nahirapan talaga kami sa kanila. Sabi ni coach kailangan talaga natin ng stops, di pwede score lang," said Manila forward Gian Abrigo, who copped the best player of the game award on the strength of his 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Aris Dionisio came to the fore in the second quarter for Manila, helping turn an 11-point deficit into a 45-43 halftime lead. The center came off the bench with 12 markers in the quarter including an alley-oop conversion off a Chris Bitoon pass and a slam dunk right after. He also picked up a block in the last possession that led to a Carlo Lastimosa layup.

In a high-scoring third quarter Manila's Bitoon stepped up but so did Navoteno Jhong Bondoc. Frontrow led with ten minutes to go, 73-68. The fourth quarter saw the teams trading fire, with Bitoon, Lastimosa and Dionisio battliing mano a mano with Uni-Pak's Bondoc and Algin Andaya.

With under a minute to go Bitoon gathered the ball after being blocked and looped in a one-hander for a precious 93-87 advantage. Navotas would score one more field goal, Bondoc completing his team-high 23 points, and Manila settled matters from the free throw line.

The Stars win despite shooting a wretched 16 of 32 from the line. They did, however, dominate the smaller Navotas side with 60 points in the paint against 38. Dionisio was a monster with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and a pair of blocks.

 

Cebu Sharks 74 - 70 Zamboanga

In the second game of the day the Cebu Sharks - Casino Ethyl Alcohol leaned on homegrown Cebuano center Will McAloney's five-star night to dismiss Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines 74-70.

McAloney led all scorers with 28 points as Casino Ethyl Alcohol concludes a three-game losing streak and keeps their playoff hopes alive with a 5-8 card.

Despite 18 turnovers in the first half Zamboanga found themselves tied 25-all at the half with the Sharks. Cebu edged Zamboanga in the third quarter to take a 42-38 lead into the last 10 minutes.

In the fourth quarter McAloney rolled up his sleeves and went to work, pounding the Zamboangeno defense with 17 points, many in the paint against the man tasked to stop him, Allan Santos.

It was a nervous finish for the Sharks with a series of late turnovers that lead to an 8-0 run with Harold Arboleda coming up with 5 markers in that spell that pulled Family's Brand to within 4, 64-60, but an unsportsmanlike foul on Santos right after was a crucial error for the Sardine Kings. John Reel Saycon made both of the charities and when Harold Cortez also went 2-for-2 from the stripe soon after, Zamboanga's fate was clear.

Late Zamboanga baskets made the scoreline more respectable but could not prevent the loss. Despite 21 points from Robin Rono, Zamboanga falls to 8-8.

 

Gensan Warriors 91 - Pasig Sta. Lucia

In the afternoon game Gensan Warriors Burlington turned on the afterburners with a dominant second half performance to take out the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors 91-82.

Warrior Juju Bautista had a breakout game with 23 points, about 19 more than his season norm, as the Mindanao team goes to 11-4 and ends a two-game losing streak.

Burlington were down 45-37 in the half but whatever pep talk coach Richie Alvarez delivered in the halftime huddle must have worked. They blazed past Pasig in the third period with 28 points as John Orbeta chipped in 8 points, Bautista found the hole with ease and Marlon Basco, Pamboy Raymundo, and Daryl Goloran all connected from beyond the arc.

Going into the fourth quarter the Warriors led 65-59. In the payoff canto Goloran, Orbeta and Bautista led a devastating 10-0 run to give the Warriors a 78-64 lead with 6 minutes to play.

Realtors Jeric Teng and Josan Nimes tried valiantly to dent the lead, but to no avail. Sta. Lucia see their three-game win tear end as they drop to 9-4 despite Teng's 23 points.

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