MPBL: Bacoor tops Cebu for seventh straight win on Ramirez's perfect night
Bob Guerrero on Oct 11, 2019 09:39 AM
"The coach just told us to continue playing team basketball," - RJ Ramirez
RJ Ramirez hit the target on every single one of his 15 shots on Thursday, and that's a big reason why the Bacoor Strikers overcame the Cebu Sharks Casino Ethyl Alcohol, 88-71, on Thursday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.
The Fil-Canadian buried all 11 of his field goal attempts and all four of his tries from the charity stripe for a career-high total of 28 points to the delight of the Bacoorenos in attendance at the STRIKE Gym.
Ramirez deflected the attention from himself and in the postgame interview. The former FEU Tam said that when Bacoor struggled early on "the coach just told us to continue playing team basketball."
The Strikers vault to 15-3 in the standings with a seventh straight win while an underachieving Sharks team slips to 6-10.
Ramirez also hauled down two rebounds and made one assist. Only a couple of turnovers marred his stat line.
Cebu won the first 10 minutes with an 18-14 lead but Mark Montuano, Gab Banal and Michael Mabulac delivered in the second period for a 35-34 Bacoor halftime advantage.
The visitors' homegrown big man, Will McAloney, came to the fore in the third quarter with nine of his team-high 23 points as Cebu entered the final segment down 59-54.
Then Ramirez well and truly entered the zone. The shooting forward poured in 15 points of a 17-9 surge to begin the quarter. That included a run of five straight baskets for Bacoor at one point. That meant a 76-63 lead with under five minutes remaining.
Rhaffy Octubre got Cebu to within nine with two minutes left, 78-69, but a pair of late treys from Rocky Acidre settled the contest.
In the early evening game Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines relied on big nights from their new signings to brush aside Pampanga Giant Lanterns ADG Group of Companies 73-59.
Zamboanga's top three scorers were all newcomers. Former Bataan Riser Anton Asistio paced the team with 17 points, followed by ex-QC Capital Aaron Black on 11 and another ex-Riser, Alvin Pasaol with 10.
The Zamboanguenos led 34-28 at the half and stretched that lead to 53-43 at the end of the third thanks to Asistio's pair of triples.
In the fourth quarter a 10-0 run capped by a Black lay-up caused the lead to balloon to 69-52 with under 5 minutes to go, effectively breaking the will of the Kapampangans.
Felix Apreku's 12 points was best for Pampanga, who shot a woeful 26 percent from the field, making just 20 of 76 attempts.
Zamboanga remains well-positioned to crash the playoff party with an 11-8 slate while Pampanga is at 10-7.
In the opener the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards put the hurt on the SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins - Armor On with an 89-50 beatdown.
The rejuvenated franchise were led with new player Tonino Gonzaga with 14 points, while point guard/Head of Basketball Operations Jai Reyes finished with 13.
The Vanguards made their move in the second quarter, which they entered with an 18-15 lead. Nueva Ecija got back-to-back triples from Adrian Celada followed by two three-bombs from Reyes, and another from Gonzaga.
At the half Charles Tiu's team were up 43-24. an 11-1 Vanguards run to start the third put the Marlins in an even bigger hole, and there was no turning back. The Novo Ecijanos were stellar from beyond the arc, hitting 15 of 35 for 42 percent.
Nueva Ecija goes to 5-12 while the Marlins lose for the 16th time in as many outings. Jake Diwa was the only Marlin in double figures with 10.
The league takes a break on Friday then resumes on Saturday with a doubleheader in Bataan.