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MPBL: San Juan nips Caloocan as Marikina, Manila triumph over foes

Roy Luarca - Philstar.com
MPBL: San Juan nips Caloocan as Marikina, Manila triumph over foes

MANILA, Philippines – New-look San Juan Go for Gold bested Caloocan Victory Liner, 73-68, while Marikina thwarted reinforced Bacoor, 89-82, on Tuesday in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the Strike Coliseum in Bacoor.

Judel Fuentes bailed San Juan out again, but new acquisitions Dexter Maiquez and Egie Mojica also showed they can contribute as the Knights posted their seventh win against five losses and boosted their bid for a quarterfinal berth in the 22-team tournament.

Caloocan threatened at 63-66, but Fuentes, living up to his tag as go-to-guy, knocked in a triple and canned four straight free throws to seal the outcome, 73-63, with only 19 seconds to go.

Fuentes finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, Maiquez wound up with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Mojica 8 points plus 11 rebounds for San Juan, which sparingly used another new hire, Christian Fajarito.

The Knights earlier released Jam Jamito, Macky Acosta, Mark Sarangay, Alvin Abundo, Mark Olayon and Clint Dominguez.

The Marikina Shoemasters, on the other hand, banked on the 31-point explosion of Top Gun Yves Sazon and the 10-point output of Antonio Lorenzo Joson in the fourth quarter to frustrate the Bacoor Strikers and revive their playoff aspiration with a 3-8 card.

Sazon also snagged nine rebounds and issued four assists while Joson ended up with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, nearly matching the 17-point, seven-assist, six-rebound and three-steal effort of new acquisition Dexter Mescallado. Nhomer Gonzales also contributed with 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Strikers suffered their sixth loss in nine games as new hires Dave Moralde, Jan Jamon and Ian Melencio are still adjusting to Bacoor's style of play.

Jamon finished with nine points and Moralde eight, while Melencio failed to score.

Bacoor, which dropped to 3-6, got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Mark Montuano, 12 points and 13 rebounds from Edzel Mag-isa and 13 points and five rebounds from Salvador Galit.

Manila banked on the 29-point explosion of Dan Sara, the 19-point contribution of Marvin Lee and the 15-point, 25-rebound output of Ronnie Matias to dump Laguna Krah Asia, 85-74, in the opener.

The Manila Stars rose to 6-6 while the Laguna Heroes dropped to 1-9.

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