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MPBL hoops: Pampanga rallies to stun Manila; Zamboanga blasts Makati

Roy Luarca - Philstar.com
MPBL hoops: Pampanga rallies to stun Manila; Zamboanga blasts Makati

MANILA, Philippines – Zamboanga and Pampanga posted contrasting victories in the Maharlika Pilipinas Baskteball League (MPBL)'s  4th Season Tuesday night at the jam-packed Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns, parading a homegrown-laden team, erased an eight-point deficit in the last five minutes and bested Manila, 72-70, in their initial stint in the 22-team tournament.

Showing the depth of its bench, Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines routed Makati City MNL Kingpins, 99-61, in the opener to tally its second straight win in as many starts.

Trailing Manila 54-62, the Giant Lanterns responded to the egging of the overflow crowd and knotted the count at 66 following back-to-back triples by Mitchelle Maynes and Jayson Castro Apolonio with 2:05 to go.

Pampanga seized control at 69-68 on three charities by Apolonio, but Manila regained the lead on two free throws by Ira Bataller.

The Giant Lanterns kept their poise, however, and a drive by Maynes with four seconds left and a free throw by John Capulong decided the outcome of the MPBL's first foray at the venue.

Apolonio led Pampanga with 26 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Maynes with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Archie Concepcion, John Capulong and Raymond Binuya added 10 each for the Giant Lanterns owned by Pampanga Rep. Dong Gonzales.

Manila got 17 points and eight rebounds from Kobe Monje and 10 points each from Dan Sara, Bataller and Joshua Fontanilla, who scored all his points in the fourth quarter.

Zamboanga zoomed ahead at 86-44 and was never in trouble against Makati, which dropped to a 1-2 record.
Jerald Bautista, Jhaymo Eguilos and Jayvee Marcelino presided over the balanced Zamboanga offense which saw 13 of the 15 players fielded by Coach Vic Ycasiano score 4 points or more.

Bautista finished with 15 points, Jhaymo Eguilos 12 and Marcelino 10.

Makati drew 16 points from Kenz Rei Diokno and 11 from Mark Angelo Samanta.

The MPBL, founded by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, returns to the Batangas City Coliseum on Saturday with a doubleheader pitting Sarangani against Marikina at 7 p.m. and GenSan against Batangas at 9 p.m.

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