MPBL: Manila nips Caloocan as Davao, Quezon book wins

MPBL: Manila nips Caloocan as Davao, Quezon book wins
Carl Bryan Cruz in action for Manila against Caloocan.

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American DJ Mitchell drilled in a deep corner triple while Carl Bryan Cruz canned two charities in the last 39 seconds to lift Manila past debuting Caloocan, 69-66, on Tuesday in the 6th MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Season at the San Andres Sports Complex.

In other thrillers, Davao Occidental nipped Bacolod, 72-71, while Quezon Province tripped Pangasinan, 72-68.

Manila SV Batang Sampaloc trailed most of the way, the last at 64-66 with 39 seconds left when Caloocan Batang Kankaloo bunched six points.

A pressure-free Mitchell, however, responded to the challenge with that go-ahead jumper before Cruz sealed Manila's third win in four games with the free throws only 1.6 seconds to go.

Cruz tallied 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks to earn best player honors over Mitchell, formerly of US NCAA Division I school Hartford, who posted 12 points, three rebounds and two steals.

Other major contributors for Manila Coach Gabby Severino were Enzo Navarro with 11 points, five assists, four rebounds plus one steal; and Pao Javelona with 10 points, six assists and two rebounds.

Caloocan was hounded by poor free throw shooting, making only 6 out of 15 tries as Antonio Bonsubre flubbed all his five attempts, including two in the dying seconds.

In contrast, Manila made 11 of 16 charities and went 12 of 30 from rainbow territory, surpassing its total of 11 2-pointers.

The Batang Kankaloo got 12 points and three rebounds from veteran Gabby Espinas; 11 points, six rebounds and three steals from Jeramer Cabanag; and 10 points plus five rebounds from Reil Cervantes. Bonsubre finished with only four points but had 10 rebounds.

Terence Tumalip poured eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to power Davao to an even 1-1 slate. His explosion complemented the 12-point, eight-rebound effort of Kelly Nabong and the 12-point, seven-rebound output of Arth Dela Cruz.

Bacolod tumbled to 1-3 despite drawing 11 points each Tricky Dyn Peromingan, Danny Marilao and homegrown Miles Canal, and 10 points from Jacob Galicia.

With Xyrus Torres scoring five points, the Quezon Huskers surged ahead, 66-58, and held the fort to tally their second straight victory.

Torres finished with 16 points and four rebounds for the Huskers, who also drew major contributions from Judel Fuentes, Ximone Sandagon and LJ Gonzales.

Sandagon notched 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks; Fuentes posted 12 points, two rebounds and two assists; while Gonzales contributed nine points, despite sinking only 1-of-6 charities, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

NCAA Season 98 Most Valuable Player Will Gozum chalked up six points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 14:45 of play for the Huskers, who are out to contend for the crown this year.

Pangasinan, which fell to 1-3, drew 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds from Hesed Gabo; and 11 points plus five rebounds from Jerald Bautista.

The MPBL visits the Olivares College Gym in Paranaque on Wednesday, April 24. The triple-bill pits Sarangani against Bulacan at 4 p.m., Bataan against Valenzuela at 6 p.m., and Muntinlupa against Paranaque at 8 p.m.

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