Giant Lanterns stretch run

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Pampanga nipped Bacolod, 72-70, in overtime last Monday to seize the spotlight from earlier winners Nueva Ecija and General Santos in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the packed Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Michael John Garcia started and ended Pampanga’s scoring in the extension to key the Giant Lanterns’ fourth straight victory that raised their record to 8-4 in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament.

Archie Concepion again lit up the Giant Lanterns’ offense with 16 points plus five rebounds, followed by Garcia with 11 and six and Jayson Castro Apolonio with 11 and five.

It was a lucky escape for the Giant Lanterns as they flubbed five straight free throws late in regulation play that ended at 64-64 after Bacolod Bingo Plus’ Edrian Lao split his charities and Aaron Jeruta missed a buzzer-beater jumper.

Bacolod, which blew two chances to reverse the outcome in overtime, dropped to 7-5 despite the 13-point, 16-rebound effort of Mark Yee.

As expected, powerhouse Nueva Ecija dumped Marikina, 99-77, in the opener to stretch its winning streak to 14. The GenSan Warriors returned to the upper half of the standings with a 73-65 victory over Imus Bandera.

Sniper John Bryon Villarias fired 25 points for the Rice Vanguards.

, who got 13 points from Will McAloney, 10 points and 10 assists from Pamboy Raymundo and 10 points from Michael Mabulac.

The Marikina Shoemasters drew 23 points from Nhemar Gonzales and 22 from Yves Sazon but still fell to 3-9.

Nikko Panganiban tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Niko Elorde posted 14 points and 5 assists for the Warriors who rose to 7-5.

Imus, which slid to 3-8, got 14 points each from Rene Pacquiao, Jeymark Mallari and Leo Najorda and 13 points from new acquisition Adven Diputado.

The MPBL goes to the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan with another triple-bill featuring the Batangas (11-1)-San Juan (7-5) encounter at 9 p.m. Other games pit Sarangani (9-2) against Makati (1-12) at 5 p.m. and Zamboanga (8-3) against Bataan (7-3) at 7 p.m.


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