MPBL: Cedrick Ablaza's big fourth quarter helps Makati put away Valenzuela

Bob Guerrero on Oct 03, 2019 09:28 AM
 MPBL: Ablaza ablaze as Makati shreds Valenzuela
"Sinunod ko lang ang sistema namin. Walang superstar sa amin, we play as a team." - Cedrick Ablaza

Makati Super Crunch showed their class with a comfortable 78-61 win over Valenzuela Classic SPV Top Marketplace in Wednesday night's featured matchup in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

A banner night from Makati's Cedric Ablaza meant the home fans at the Valenzuela Astrodome headed for the exits early as Super Crunch improved to 12-3, good for third place in the North Division. Valenzuela slumps to 6-11 and are on the outside looking in for a playoff berth.

"Sinunod ko lang ang sistema namin. Walang superstar sa amin, we play as a team," said Ablaza, who finished with 17 points, nine in the last period.

Super Crunch bossed the first two quarters, with Juneric Baloria and Jeckster Apinan leading the way to a 44-35 halftime lead. A pair of Jayson Varilla jumpers and a JC Asuncion triple to end the second quarter kept the Classic within striking distance.

In the third quarter Ablaza delivered a pair of late baskets as Makati entered the payoff canto up 60-48.

Valenzuela hung around in the fourth until Ablaza caught fire. The former pro pumped in 9 points in the final period. A late 9-0 run from Makati featuring baskets from Kib Montalbo and John Rey Villanueva put the exclamation point on the rout.

Ford Ruaya topscored for SPV Top Marketplace with 13, two more than Paolo Hubalde.

Valenzuela were out of sync offensively, shooting only 35% from the field and clanging all 13 attempts from rainbow country.

In the early evening contest Manila Stars - Frontrow came from behind in the fourth quarter to pip Basilan Steel - Jumbo Plastic, 66-65.

Carlo Lastimosa led the Manileños with 15 points but Aris Dionisio copped the best player of the game award with big plays down the stretch enroute to a ten-point effort.

At the half Basilan led 32-30. The highlight of the first twenty minutes was seeing Basilan's Tonton Bringas get called for a charge on his elder brother, Arvie Bringas of Manila, late in the second period.

Lastimosa was on fire in the third quarter with eight points but Basilan's Junji Hallare and Gab Dagangon matched him stride for stride and Manila led by just one, 48-47 going into the last segment.

The younger Bringas was magnificent in the fourth for Basilan, at one point knocking in three straight baskets to give his side a 62-59 lead with three minutes to go.

But Dionisio rose to the occasion with a putback layup then a fast break conversion that came off one of his shot blocks to give Frontrow a 66-65 lead.

Jumbo Plastic had one last chance after Marvin Hayes flubbed two charities, but Hesed Gabo's desperation heave missed.

Manila solidifies their second-place standing in the North Division with a 13-2 card and a four-game win streak. Basilan goes to 9-7 despite Tonton Bringas' 15 markers.

Curiously Manila wins despite missing all 12 of their three-point shots.

In the first game the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors withstood a torrent of late triples to escape Bataan Camaya Coast, 64-63.

The Realtors' new pick-up Leo Najorda compiled 20 points against his old club to grab the player of the game plum. It's an especially sweet moment for Najorda since he is a born-and-bred Pasigueno. Najorda's offense was welcome especially since Sta. Lucia were without the services of Jeric Teng, who is injured.

Sta. Lucia made their move in the third quarter with 22 points, nine from sweet-shooting big Josan Nimes, to take a 51-39 lead to begin the fourth quarter. Pasig appeared to be well on the way to victory when Najorda fired in a three-ball for a 60-51 lead with four minutes to play.

But then Bataan proceeded bang in four triples in the next three minutes, two apiece from Byron Villarias and Jose Mari Presbitero. Despite two more Najorda baskets, Bataan were knocking on the door 64-63 with under a minute remaining, Pasig couldn't stretch their lead on their last possession but held on for the win in the dying seconds when a Villarias looper fell short at the buzzer.

Bataan slides to 7-8 despite Villarias' 13 points. Pasig, who won despite only shooting 33 percent from the field, advance to 10-4.

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