MPBL: Quezon grabs share of lead; Paranaque, South Cotabato win

MPBL: Quezon grabs share of lead; Paranaque, South Cotabato win
JP Sarao registered 17 points, including 11 in the third quarter, five rebounds and two blocks for Paranaque.

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon Huskers overpowered the Imus Agimat VA Drones, 100-73, on Wednesday to share the lead in the 6th MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Season elimination round at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna.

Drawing points from 13 Huskers led by Lucena City Mayor Mark Alcala, Quezon surged ahead, 54-31, at halftime and padded it to 89-60 midway through the fourth quarter to secure their seventh win in as many starts.  The win also pushed Quezon in the company of the San Juan Knights atop the standings in the 29-team tournament.

Alcala tallied 18 points, four rebounds, two assists and 1 steal to earn Best Player honors as Quezon overtook Nueva Ecija and Binan, both with 6-0 slates.

NCAA Season 98 Most Valuable Player Will Gozum supported Alcala with 12 points and four rebounds; followed by homegrown Rodel Gravera with 11 points plus four rebounds; and Judel Fuentes with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Huskers, being coached by Eric Gonzales, also drew nine points each from Ximone Sandagon, Mon Abundo and Gab Banal.

Imus suffered its ninth straight defeat despite the 20-point, four-rebound, five-assist, three-steal effort of Luis Tapenio.

Other games saw Paranaque nip Zamboanga Master Sardines, 65-62, in the nightcap and South Cotabato thwart Marikina, 76-72, in the opener.

The Paranaque Patriots posted the game's biggest lead at 49-39, then held their ground through JP Sarao and Philip Manalang to tie the Zamboanguenos at 7-2.

Sarao registered 17 points, including 11 in the third quarter, five rebounds and two blocks; followed by Manalang with 13 points and seven assists; and John Uduba with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Former MPBL Most Valuable Player Jaycee Marcelino tried to bail out Zamboanga with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals but fell short as Zamboanga missed the services of his backcourt partner and twin brother Jayvee. Zamboanga also got 10 points and eight rebounds from John Mahari.

Marikina clustered six points to gain control, 71-68, but South Cotabato retaliated through John Wilson's two charities and Nico Elorde's clutch triple to regain the lead with 46.4 seconds left.

Marikina's Eric Pili and Wilson split their two free throws before Marwin Dionisio drilled two charities with 1.7 ticks left to seal the Warriors' sixth win against three losses.

Elorde finished with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists to emerge Best Player. He was supported by Chris Dumapig with 11 points plus seven rebounds, and Kyle Tolentino with 10 points. Wilson wound up with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Marikina, which clawed back from a 34-49 hole, dropped to 1-8.

The Shoemasters got 17 points, three assists and two steals from Ahron Estacio, and 12 points, three rebounds from homegrown Eloie Tan.

The MPBL visits the Wes Arena in Valenzuela City on Thursday with another triple-bill pitting Sarangani against Muntinlupa at 4 p.m., Bacolod against Nueva Ecija at 6 p.m., and Bulacan versus Valenzuela at 8 p.m.

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