JR Alabanza's superb night helps Bulacan defeat Imus despite a passionate Caviteño gallery in Imus.

Bob Guerrero on Oct 15, 2019 09:49 AM
 MPBL: Bulacan outsteadies Imus for big road win
Lester Alvarez and the rest of Bulacan are very much in the playoff conversation after pulling to 8-10 in the standings.

The Bulacan Kuyas displayed exceptional composure down the stretch to defeat Imus Bandera - Khaleb Shawarma, 75-70, in the featured game in Monday's action at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

Imus was hoping to celebrate Jayjay Helterbrand's birthday as well as the re-opening of their new home court, the Imus City Sports Center, with a win, but it was not to be. Imus drops to 4-13.

Helterbrand was limited to eight points while the Bandera's other high-profile player, Gerald Anderson, was scoreless in 10 minutes of play.

JR Alabanza was the key player for Bulacan with 17 points and 7 rebounds while Lester Alvarez, another Kuya, finished with a game-high 21 points.

The Kuyas vault to 8-10 in the standings.

Jeric Nacpil had a solid first half as the home side led 35-27. By the end of the third period a pair of Jhan McHale Nermal charities put the Kuyas up 56-54.

In the fourth quarter six straight points from Bandera forward Emcee Caceres drew Imus to within three, 71-68. Francis Munsayac even cut the lead to 73-70 with a short jumper. But Kuya Rev Diputado dispatched two free throws in the last 14 seconds to put the game to bed. Nacpil and Jojo Cunanan led Imus in scoring with 12 apiece.

The Quezon City Capitals - WEMSAP denied Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines an upset by squeaking through with a 98-97 win in OT.

QC's Dahrrel Caranguian rifled in a three-pointer to put the Caps in front 74-72 with 31 seconds left in regulation. But Domark Matillano showed champion nerves by slithering in a pair of free throws with ten ticks left to force a richly-deserved extension for Navotas. Uni-Pak outscored QC, 22-16, in the last quarter.

Matillano and new pick up Dudu Guillen dueled with Clark Derige and Caranguian in overtime. Baskets from Mark Olayon, one a go-ahead jumper with 10 seconds left, clinched the victory. Olayon, formerly from Batangas City, is another new pick up for WEMSAP.

Caranguian led all scorers with 22 while Jhong Bondoc's 20 points was best for Navotas, who slump to 4-11. QC is very much in the thick of the playoff hunt at 8-10.

In the afternoon match-up, the Pasay Voyagers bucked a monster outing from the Marikina Shoemasters' Yves Sazon to hang on for a 70-66 victory. Jaypee Belencion topscored for Pasay with 19 points, as the Voyagers go to 12-6.

Marikina fought hard but two late-game errors derailed them. Sazon was unguardable in the first half, exploding for 20 points with five triples. But Pasay's Axel Inigo also thrived from three point range with three in the second, and the Voyagers led at the half, 41-36.

The Voyagers turned the screws in the third with a 13-0 run for a 54-41 advantage thanks to sharp shooting from Inigo and Jerome Pasia. The third quarter ended with the Pasayenos in control 60-49.

But Sazon kept up the pace with back-to-back triples in the fourth quarter as the Mariquenos wouldn't go away. When Von Tambeling knocked in a short baseline stab with 25 seconds left, the lead was down to 2, 68-66.

But Shoemaker Franz Dysam took too long to foul on the next play despite the instructions of coach Elvis Tolentino. Inigo made both clutch charities for 70-66.

In the ensuing play Joshua Gonzales sealed Marikina's fate by stepping on the baseline while releasing a desperation trey.

Sazon led all scorers with 28 points while Marikina strengthens their hold on the North Division cellar with a 3-13 card.

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