MPBL: Dionisio and Lastimosa lead the way as Manila downs San Juan

Bob Guerrero on Nov 30, 2019 09:11 AM
 MPBL: Manila beats San Juan in battle of North titans
"All throughout the season pinaghahandaan namin ang San Juan. Ang mindset namin, pag may pagkakataong lumayo, idiin talaga namin." - Aris Dionisio (Photo: MPBL)

The Manila Stars - Frontrow sent a big message to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League on Friday by defeating defending champs San Juan Knights - Go For Gold 75-70 in a top-tier Lakan Season showdown in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental.

Aries Dionisio and Carlo Lastimosa, who hails from nearby Cagayan de Oro City, poured in 14 points apiece as the Manilenos win the battle for bragging rights across the San Juan river.

Manila now sports an 18-4 slate and closes the gap between them and league-leading Manila, who are 20-3.

"All throughout the season pinaghahandaan namin ang San Juan. Ang mindset namin, pag may pagkakataong lumayo, idiin talaga namin," said Dionisio, who also pulled down 6 rebounds in front of a big crowd at the El Salvador City Gymnasium.

Ronnie Matias and Mac Montilla provided two late baskets for the Stars that sealed San Juan's fate. Manila led 35-24 in a physical, defensive first half.

In the third quarter San Juan's John Wilson scored the last 4 points to bring Go For Gold to within three, 46-43 going into the final segment. A Matias lay-up made it 50-48 with four minutes left in the game, giving Manila a huge advantage.

But Manila went into penalty early in the period, and San Juan feasted from the line to pull closer. A Jonard Clarito layup with 1:11 left drew the Knights to within two, 66-64.

After the teams traded quick baskets Matias laid the ball in for a four-point cushion and after a defensive stop Montilla swished from beyond the arc, for 73-66 with 23 ticks left, confirming the win.

San Juan can point the blame on their desultory 3-point shooting, just 1 from 17 attempts.

In the appetizer the Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife overwhelmed Imus Bandera Khaleb Shawarma - GLC Truck and Equipment, 94-76.

Davao's Mark Yee collected 27 points and 14 rebounds as the result was hardly ever in doubt.

The Tigers showed complete dominance inside, outrebounding their opponents 55-30 and scoring 50 points in the paint as opposed to 24 from Imus.

But the Bandera did get a great performance from matinee idol/shooting guard Gerald Anderson, who led their team with 20 points off 7/11 shooting.

Cocolife goes to 19-3 while Imus slip to 6-17. The league will now take a break for the duration of the SEA Games.

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