MPBL: Pampanga annihilates Davao; Iloilo stuns South Cotabato

MPBL: Pampanga annihilates Davao; Iloilo stuns South Cotabato
Lervin Flores stood out for the Pampanga Giant Lanterns.

MANILA, Philippines – The Pampanga Giant Lanterns overpowered the Davao Occidental Tigers, 81-47, on Wednesday to stretch their hot streak in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Showing why they're the defending MPBL champion, the Giant Lanterns held the Tigers, the MPBL Lakan Season titlist, to just 17 points in the first half and led by as far as 79-41 in posting their 11th straight win after an initial loss in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Pampanga overtook San Juan (9-1) at the third spot, trailing Nueva Ecija and Quezon Province, both with 10-0 cards.

Lervin Flores, a former Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 member, delivered the most for Pampanga with 15 points and 19 rebounds, followed by reigning league Most Valuable Player Justine Baltazar with 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Other Giant Lanterns who shone were Encho Serrano with 11 points, three rebounds and two assists; Archie Concepcion with 10 points and three rebounds; and Kurt Reyson with eight points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

With the 6-foot-5 Flores and the 6-8 Baltazar crashing the boards, the Giant Lanterns grabbed 63 rebounds against the Tigers' 30, which they translated to a 48-22 edge in points inside the paint as well as a 24-5 advantage in second-chance points.

Davao absorbed its second straight loss and tumbled to 8-4 as no Tiger was able to score in double digits, with Bonbon Custodio's 8 points turning out to be the highest.

Earlier, Iloilo clamped down on South Cotabato in the third quarter then rev up its offense in the fourth to tally an 89-83 victory and rise to 5-7.

Trailing by as many as 30-49, the Iloilo United Royals held the South Cotabato Warriors to four points while coming through with 16 to move ahead, 64-63, after the third quarter.

Powered by Gwyne Capacio, Mark Nonoy, CJ Catapusan and CJ Cansino, Iloilo then overcame the 11-point explosion of Christian Fajarito in the fourth quarter.

Cansino wound up with 21 points, three assists, three steals and two blocks; while Capacio finished with 18 points, three rebounds and two assists. Nonoy ended up with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals; RV Berjay contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks; while Clint Doliguez chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and two steals for Iloilo Coach Mac Abolucion.

South Cotabato saw its seven-game winning streak broken and skidded to 9-4 despite the 23-point, eight-rebound, five-assist, two-steal effort of Enzo Joson; the 20-point, 10-rebound output of Fajarito; and the 15-point, 12-rebound, four-assist contribution of Jammer Jamito.

Bicolandia finally tallied its breakthrough victory at the expense of Bacolod City of Smiles, 62-61, in the opener and tied its victim at 1-12.

Raffy Reyes canned three free throws and Ralph Deles made the second of his two charities to push Bicolandia ahead, 62-60, with 6.2 seconds to go.

Bacolod's LA Casinilio then made a charity off a technical foul for the final count.

Chris Javier led Bicol with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists; while Deles carded 12 points and 10 rebounds. Homegrown Cyrus Llarena and Reyes chipped in 10 points each.

Bacolod got 19 points and six rebounds from Danny Marilao, and 14 points, five rebounds and three steals from Casinilio.

The MPBL goes to the Caloocan Sports Complex on Thursday with Manila battling Imus at 4 p.m., Sarangani tackling Zamboanga at 6 p.m. and Quezon tangling with Caloocan at 8 p.m.

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