Gonzaga's 21 points help the Rice Vanguards win at Parañaque

Bob Guerrero on Dec 19, 2019 07:51 AM
MPBL: Hot-shooting Gonzaga leads Nueva Ecija past Parañaque
Zags Gonzaga led the Novo Ecijanos with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 dimes.

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards showed tremendous character on Wednesday night, defeating Paranaque Patriots - Yabo Sports 85-81 in the main game of the Chooks To Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season.

The Paranaqueño crowd at the Olivarez College gym cheered their beloved Patriots on in vain as the Rice Vanguards notch their 6th win in 22 outings. Yabo Sports tumbles to 8-16.

Tonino "Zags" Gonzaga led the Novo Ecijanos with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 dimes.

In a breathtaking first half Nueva Ecija outshot the Patriots, 50-48. The barrage of offense featured Nueva Ecija and Paranaque shooting 48 and 52 percent, respectively from the field at this point.

The first two periods featured 15 three pointers. Gonzaga poured in 13 points in the first half for the Vanguards.

The third quarter saw the scoring slow down a bit but the teams stayed close, with Yabo Sports taking a 66-65 lead into the fourth, thanks to production from Keith Pido, Jemal Vizcarra, and James Abugan.

In the final period Nueva Ecija made sure of the victory with a three pointer from Gonzaga followed up by a Jame Martinez floater for an 84-77 lead with under a minute to go that held up in the end. Jemal Vizcarra and James Abugan delivered 19 and 18 points respectively for the home side but it was not enough, and the loss deals their faint playoff hopes a huge blow.

In the battle for bragging rights across the Marikina River, the Quezon City Capitals - WEMSAP came out on top, 77-76, over the Marikina Shoemasters in OT in the early evening game.

QC overturned an eight-point deficit with under seven minutes left in regulation with triples from Ryan Costelo and Dharrel Caranguian. A fadeway from Marikina's Renato Ular proved to be the tying basket with 44 seconds left. Ular had a chance to win the game with the clock running out but Von Tambeling erased his attempt.

The Shoemasters sprinted ahead 76-71 on another Ular lay-up in the extension with 1:43 left. But from then on it was all QC. Clark Derige drained a three, Caranguian knocked in a difficult step-back jumper, and Mon Mabayo made a split from the line for the go-ahead point with 10 points. Tambeling's three-pointer as time ran out was off-target, and WEMSAP had their comeback win to go to 10-15. Marikina once again lost, their 18th setback in 22 outings.

Mariqueno Yves Sazon led all scorers with 24 points, with Ular a point behind him. Caranguian led the winning team with 18 markers.

In the afternoon game the Bulacan Kuyas withstood a ferocious 31-point fourth quarter from the Batangas City Tanduay Athletics to win 82-81.

The Bulakenos were leading 77-63 with 3:14 left in the game when Tanduay reeled off a jaw-dropping 14-2 run capped by a Justin Melano lay-up to cut the lead to 79-77.

With 33 ticks left Rev Diputado completed a driving lay-up for an 82-79 lead for the Kuyas that Genmar Bragais cut to 82-81 with 22 seconds left. Then with 11 seconds remaining Bragais muffed two free throws that would have put them in the lead. Amazingly, Stephen Siruma of Bulacan also clanged a pair of charities moments later. Dan Sara stormed down court to try and win the game for the Athletics but his layup missed.

Dennis Santos led the way for his hometown Bulacan with 15 points as the club goes to 15-8. Batangas City slips to 13-9 despite 23 points from Melano.

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