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The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards extend their Win Streak to Nine

Jul 23, 2022

Bacolod City – Nueva Ecija found a savior in John Bryon Villarias as it subdued gritty Bacolod Bingo Plus, 81-74, in a thriller that started Monday and ended early Tuesday after going through three overtimes.

Villarias outscored the Bacolodnons, 8-7, behind his two triples in the third extension to power the unbeaten Rice Vanguards to their ninth straight win in the single round-robin elimination phase of the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the full house University of St. La Salle Gym.

Villarias indeed finds range.

Finding his range at the right time, the 6-foot gunner out of nearby Silay City also canned three charities to knot the count in regulation play, 52-52.

In the first extension, veteran Mark Yee drilled in a triple as Bacolod sent the nightcap of the “City of Smiles Invasion” into second overtime at 57-57.

Yee split his charities to give Bacolod a 67-64 lead, but Villarias calmly hit a triple with 5.7 seconds left to extend the game anew.

Bacolod was still ahead at 72-71, until Villarias and JR Taganas, who completed a 3-point play, dropped a 9-2 salvo that sent local fans to the exit, 80-74, with 39 seconds to go.

Villarias scored 16 points in the extra periods and wound up with 24 points to go with 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. He was supported by Jay Collado, who scored 8 points in the fourth quarter, and finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds for Nueva Ecija, which overcame the absence of head coach Jerson Cabiltes.

Yee carried the fight for Bacolod, which dropped to 4-3, with 19 points and 17 rebounds, followed by Edrian Lao with 11 points and 7 rebounds.

Earlier, Jaycee Marcelino delivered 21 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lift Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines to a come-from-behind 86-82 victory over Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc.

Zamboanga, which also got 12 points from Jefferson Comia and 10 points plus 10 rebounds and 7 assists from Jaycee’s twin brother, Jayvee, climbed to 7-0.

Jaycee, who only had five points after three quarters, also tallied 6 rebounds and 4 assists for Coach Vic Ycasiano.

Valenzuela, which got 18 points from Ronjay Buenafe, 16 from Patrick Cabaug, 11 from Kevin Ray Villafranca and 10 from Jaymar Gimpayan tumbled to 4-5.

The four teams switch opponents on Tuesday, with Nueva Ecija battling Valenzuela at 7 p.m. and Zamboanga tackling Bacolod at 9 p.m.

The Scores:

  • Nueva Ecija 81 – Villarias 24, Collado 17, Uyloan 9, Juico 9, Mabulac 8, McAloney 7, Taganas 3, Gabo 3, Raymundo 1, Balucanag 0, Manalang 0, Siruma 0, Palma 0.
  • Bacolod 74 – Yee 19, Lao 11, Jeruta 8, Alday 8, Ilagan 6, Nermal 6, Villoria 4, Cabanag 4, Lee Yu 4, Albo 2, dela Cruz 2, Pastias 0, Solis 0.

Quarters: 11-20, 24-31, 39-40, 52-52, 57-57 (OT), 67-67 (2OT), 81-74 (3OT).

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