MPBL: Batangas rebounds as Manila, Davao books wins

MPBL: Batangas rebounds as Manila, Davao books wins
Batangas City Tanduay's Dawn Ochea recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.

MANILA, Philippines – Batangas regained traction while Manila and Davao sustained their upward drive on Monday in the 6th MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Season at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The Batangas City Tanduay Rum Masters routed the Valenzuela Classics, 91-74, in the nightcap to recover from a 72-73 loss to the Caloocan Batang Kankaloo on June 19 and raised their record to 11-3 in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Manila SV Batang Sampaloc thwarted Pasay City, 90-87, in the opener to stretch its hot streak to six and climb to 11-4.

The Davao Occidental Tigers, on the other hand, clobbered the off-form Abra Weavers, 92-75, to rise to 10-4.

Powered by Dawn Ochea, Kris Porter, Juneric Baloria and Kris Porter, Batangas led throughout and by as far as 87-67 late in the fourth quarter.

Ochea wound up with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals to earn Best Player honors. The former Adamson Falcon was supported by Kris Porter with 13 points, Juneric Baloria with 12 and Ablaza with 11.

Valenzuela, led by Filipino-American CJ Payawal and Mark Montuano, crept to within 40-44 only to be met by a 10-point fusillade from CJ Isit and Mark Cruz that pushed Batangas to a 54-44 spread.

The Classics fell to 7-8 despite the 25-point, six-rebound effort of Payawal and the 15 points of Montuano.

Bracing for a tight fight, Davao instead stormed ahead at 64-33 early in the third quarter behind the guns of Jun Manzo, Kenneth Ighalo, Chris Lalata and Keith Agovida and pulled down Abra to 8-6.

Manzo posted 17 points and four assists; Ighalo 16 points; Lalata 12 points plus six rebounds; and Ighalo 11 points, seven rebounds plus four assists.

Abra, which saw its four-game run broken, drew 19 points and nine rebounds from veteran Mark Yee; 14 points plus five rebounds from John Lloyd Clemente; and nine points plus 10 rebounds from Mike Canete.

With the game tied at 70, the Manila SV Batang Sampaloc Stars clustered 11 points on a triple by Jimboy Pasturan, a jumper by Tonino Gonzaga, and six straight points by James Sena, to break free and pull down Pasay to 7-7.

Greg Slaughter again paced the Stars with 21 points plus nine rebounds; followed by Sena with 14 points and Gonzaga with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Carl Bryan Cruz, whose triple with 33.1 seconds left kept the Voyagers at bay, 86-80, contributed 11 points, six assists and four rebounds; while Pasturan notched 10 points, four rebounds and four assists for Manila Coach Gabby Severino.

Pasay tasted its third straight defeat despite the 35-point, seven-rebound, three-assist effort of Patrick Sleat. Only Laurenz Victoria, however, provided support with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The MPBL returns to the Caloocan Sports Complex on Tuesday with games pitting Mindoro against Negros at 4 p.m., Quezon against Iloilo at 6 p.m., and South Cotabato against Caloocan at 6 p.m.

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