MPBL: Batangas outlasts Zamboanga in OT; Pasig, San Juan post wins

MPBL: Batangas outlasts Zamboanga in OT; Pasig, San Juan post wins
Juneric Baloria strikes at the right moment for Batangas City Embassy Chill.

MANILA, Philippines – Batangas City met stiff resistance from Zamboanga before prevailing in overtime, 87-83, and stretching its unbeaten run to 10 games in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season at the Batangas City Coliseum on Monday.

The Batangas City Embassy Chill rode the torrid scoring of Levi Hernandez in regulation play, then leaned on Juneric Baloria and Cedric Ablaza in extra time to post win No. 10 in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament split into two divisions.

Hernandez poured a career-high 36 points as Batangas rallied from an early 19-point deficit, 25-35, and led at the homestretch, 72-69, before Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines' Jaycee Marcelino scored a field goal and Adrian Santos split two charities to forge the extension.

With Hernandez hobbled by cramps, Ablaza and Baloria took up the slack and fired five points each to frustrate Zamboanga, which suffered its second straight defeat and tumbled to 8-2 behind Batangas in the South division.

Scoreless in the first half, Ablaza finished with 14 points and a game-high 21 rebounds, while Baloria came through with 16 points and seven rebounds for Batangas Coach Cholo Villanueva.

Zamboanga got 26 points from Jaycee Marcelino and 12 points from Japz Bautista, including seven in overtime.

Earlier games saw Pasig edge Marikina, 81-79, and San Juan Go for Gold trounce Makati, 95-85.

Pasig drew 21 points each from Jun Manzo and Rey Anthony Peralta, 12 points from Robbie Manalang and 10 points plus 14 rebounds from Jason Melano to climb to 6-3 in the North division.

Marikina skidded to 2-8 despite the 25-point, 11-rebound effort of Yves Sazon; the 19-point, 11-rebound output of Nhomer Gonzales; and the 11-point, nine-rebound and six-assist contribution of Antonio Joson.

Traling by as many as 18 points, 13-31, the San Juan Knights found their rhythm in the fourth quarter to rise to 6-4 and formally oust Makati (1-11) from quarterfinals contention.

The MPBL foes to San Fernando, Pampanga on Tuesday with a triple-bill at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center. Bacolod (5-4) tackles Mindoro (1-10) at 5 p.m., followed by the Valenzuela (5-6)-Manila (5-5) tussle at 7 p.m. and the Imus (2-6)-Quezon City (3-5) collision at 9 p.m.



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