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Sports

Giant Lanterns near MPBL coronation

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Giant Lanterns near MPBL coronation
Baltazar, after his coronation in the pre-game awarding ceremonies graced by MPBL founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao, flirted with a near triple-double of 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in the Giant Lanterns’ thrilling 68-65 win in Game 2 against Bacoor on Tuesday night at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.
MPBL

MANILA, Philippines — Justine Baltazar as expected captured the Most Valuable Player (MVP) plum as Pampanga moved on the cusp of annexing the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Fifth Season crown.

Baltazar, after his coronation in the pre-game awarding ceremonies graced by MPBL founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao, flirted with a near triple-double of 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in the Giant Lanterns’ thrilling 68-65 win in Game 2 against Bacoor on Tuesday night at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.

The versatile big man dished out a couple of crucial dimes down the stretch as Pampanga unleashed a telling 7-0 run to break away from a deadlock at 61 before foiling Bacoor’s late rally for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five national finals.

Game 3 is set Saturday at the Strike Gym in Bacoor with the Giant Lanterns eyeing a closeout to complete a perfect playoff sweep.

Pampanga, after losing only two games in the elimination round, coasted past Marikina, Caloocan and San Juan to rule the North Division without any dent to show.

The wards of Pampanga Gov. and head coach Dennis “Delta” Pineda took a commanding 71-58 win ignited by a 21-4 start against the visiting Strikers in Game 1 before needing every stop this time around.

No team led by more than seven points, which the Giant Lanterns reached at 68-61 in the last three minutes after Encho Serrano’s five straight points.

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