The ballclub formerly known as Soccsksargen Marlins takes Parañaque to the brink, but the Patriots pull through at home.

Bob Guerrero on Nov 09, 2019 09:56 AM
 MPBL: Abugan key as Parañaque denies Sarangani
"Kailangan pa kami mag pa- kondisyon, medyo nag-collapse kami nung last quarter kaya patay kami kay coach Mike (Saguiguit), pagagalitan kami." - James Abugan (FILE PHOTO)

The Paranaque Patriots - Yabo Sports weathered a late surge by Sarangani Province to win 73-70 in front of their home fans on Friday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

James Abugan led Yabo Sports with 17 points and also provided two big buckets down the stretch at the Olivarez College Gymnasium in Paranaque City.

Sarangani Province is the new name of the erstwhile SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins, who have reshuffled their line-up, retaining just five players, and are under new management. This was the first game with the new moniker but the result was no different: a 20th straight loss in as many games this conference.

Parañaque were in control for most of the game and when Daniel de Guzman hit a pair of buckets early in the fourth, the Patriots led 60-44 and the win looked safe. Then the visitors flipped a switch.

The Mindanao team reeled off a stunning 12-0 run bookended by threes from Mark Trinidad to cut the deficit to just 4, 60-56 with six minutes left. When Sarangani's Miko Estrellante eased in a floating jumper to tie the game at 64-all with two minutes remaining the anxiety level among the Paranaqueño faithful was sky-high.

Then Abugan scythed through the Sarangani defense for a two-pointer and moments later laid the ball in for a precious two-possession lead of 68-64 with forty ticks left. Late buckets from Pari Llagas and Trinidad were not enough as Yabo Sports win to keep their flagging playoff hopes alive at 8-13.

Abugan was cognizant of the bullets his team dodged to hack out the win and the work the team needs to put in. "Kailangan pa kami mag pa- kondisyon, medyo nag-collapse kami nung last quarter kaya patay kami kay coach Mike (Saguiguit), pagagalitan kami," said the forward after the game.

Topscoring for Sarangani was Llagas with 19 points.

In the second matchup of the night Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors proved the more composed team in the end to drop the Bulacan Kuyas, 77-72.

Realtor Robbie Manalang led all scorers with 26 points closely followed by Josan Nimes with 21 as Pasig ends a two-game losing streak to rise to 12-7. Sta. Lucia led 43-36 at the half but a 7-0 rush from Bulacan, capped by back-to-back baskets from Rev Diputado, drew Bulacan to within 3, 60-57 heading into the fourth.

Despite going into foul trouble early in the period Bulacan took the lead with a floating jumper from Gwynne Capacio for a 71-69 advantage with four minutes left. Pasig responded with a five-pack from Nimes to retake the lead 74-71.

Bulacan were unable to create any magic in the final minutes, committing two turnovers, missing free throws, and clanging all five of their field goal attempts down the stretch, virtually handing the game to Sta. Lucia, who won despite shooting only 35% from the field, seven percentage points less than their foes.

Bulacan see a three-game losing streak halted despite 17 markers from Capacio.

In the opener the Bacoor Strikers relied on a strong finishing kick to dump a stubborn Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines squad, 87-78.

Mykiel Cabahug, Kojak Melegrito, Melvin Mamaclay, and Jhong Bondoc all connected from three-point range in a 28-point third quarter for Navotas that pulled them to within four of the favored Strikers, 66-62.

Midway through the fourth Oping Sumalinog and Michael Cañete hit back-to-back triples to bring the Caviteños a 13 point lead, 79-66. A pair of three-bombs from Navoteño Osama Abdurasad in the stretch proved to be mere consolations as Bacoor improves to 16-5, concluding a two-game losing skid.

Topscoring for the Bacooreños was Cañete with 22 points. Bondoc's 15 points was not enough to prevent a 13th loss in 18 outings for Uni-Pak.

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