MPBL: Zamboanga sinks Pasay; Batangas destroys Valenzuela 105-54

MPBL: Zamboanga sinks Pasay; Batangas destroys Valenzuela 105-54

MANILA, Philippines – Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines rode on the tandem of Jaycee Marcelino and Dexter Maiquez to subdue the Pasay Voyagers, 77-66, on Monday and gain a share of the lead in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City.

Marcelino, last year's MPBL MVP, posted 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and one block while Maiquez, a prized acquisition from San Juan, tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks for Zamboanga, which caught up with Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Quezon Province and first-game winner Batangas City Embassy Chill at 2-0.

Batangas, the 2018 inaugural MPBL Rajah Cup titlist, handed Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc. a 105-54 thrashing.

The Zamboanguenos, who ruled the 2023 MPBL Preseason Invitational held last month in General Santos City, allowed the Pasay Voyagers to take an 11-7 lead before shoring up their defense and revving up their offense to control the half, 40-28.

They were never headed from there as the Voyagers could come no closer than 64-73 following a 10-point assault.

Apart from Marcelino and Maiquez, Zamboanga coach Vic Ycasiano also relied on Judel Fuentes, Chris Dumpaig and Jayvee Marcelino, who scored eight points each.

Pasay got 15 points from Laurenz Paul Victoria, 12 from Brandrey Bienes and 11 from Dhon Reverente.

The Batangas Athletics' 49-point winning margin was the biggest thus far in the 29-team tournament that would end in December.

With the outcome virtually settled by halftime, 54-22, Batangas coach Cholo Valenzuela had the luxury of fielding all 15 players in his roster, only two of whom failed to score.

Mark Justine Dela Virgen led the balanced Batangas attack with 15 points, followed by John Rey Villanueva with 14, Levi Hernandez 13, Jeckster Apinan 11 and John Ambulodto 10.

Using its vaunted trapping defense, Batangas forced Valenzuela to commit 22 turnovers while coming through with 13 steals that helped the Athletics pile up a 51-point spread, 104-53.

Valenzuela, which also lost to Zamboanga, 54-98, on March 14 got 14 points and 12 rebounds from Johnnel Rey Bauzon, but none of his teammates could score in twin digits.

The MPBL returns to the Muntinlupa Sports Complex on Tuesday with a triple-bill pitting Iloilo against Paranaque at 4 p.m., Pasig against Sarangani at 6 p.m. and Manila against Muntinlupa at 8 p.m.



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