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Nueva Ecija secures top MPBL spot; Pampanga, Bacoor triumph

Roy Luarca - Philstar.com
Nueva Ecija secures top MPBL spot; Pampanga, Bacoor triumph
Pampanga's Achie Concepcion shines again.
MPBL

MANILA, Philippines – The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards continued their dominant run with a 109-79 trampling of Laguna Krah Asia Heroes on Tuesday in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) presented by Xtreme at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City.

Flaunting its star-studded roster, Nueva Ecija surged ahead by 36 points en route to its seventh straight win and the solo lead in the single round-robin elimination round of the 22-team tournament.

Pampanga and Bacoor also trounced their rivals to boost their drives.

Baring their sharpest form yet, the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, composed mostly of homegrown stars, clobbered the Caloocan Excellence, 95-78, and raised their record to 4-3.

The Bacoor Strikers struck from afar and crushed the Makati City MNL Kingpins, 84-56, in the opener to climb to 2-2.

Playing on their home court for the first time, the Rice Vanguards of Coach Jerson Cabiltes did not disappoint as they sealed the outcome, 87-51, even before the third quarter ended.

John Bryon Villarias led the Nueva Ecija scorers with 17 points, followed by homegrown Bobby Balucanag with 14, Will McAloney with 13 plus nine rebounds, Hesed Gabo with 11 points and Renz Palma with 10 points plus nine assists.

Laguna, which fell to 1-5, got 25 points and 11 rebounds from Virgilio Santos, 12 points from King Asinero, 11 from Sean Laban and 10 from Floyd Dedicatoria.

Pampanga drew 23 points and 10 rebounds from Jayson Castro Apolonio, 16 points and seven rebounds from Archie Concepcion, 16 points from Dominick Vera, 10 points from Earnest Reyes, and nine points, 11 assists and seven rebounds from Christopher Lagrama in posting its third straight victory after a 1-3 start.

Caloocan tumbled to 1-4 despite the 18-point, 12-rebound effort of Paolo Javillonar, the 11-point output of Damian Lasco and the 10-point contribution of Jhygruz Laude.

Mark Mantuano posted 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Paolo Castro added 11 points to power Bacoor, which saw all of its players scoring two points or more.

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