As Pampanga beats Rizal for a solo lead in the MPBL, Serrano and Baltazar team up

Jun 23, 2023

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At the FilOil Ecooil Center in San Juan on Tuesday, Pampanga sailed to its 14th straight victory as San Juan continued its ascent in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League).

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns beat the Rizal XentroMall Golden Coolers 93 to 80, leaning on prized recruit Encho Serrano and towering Justine Baltazar to take first place in the 29-team tournament’s single-robin elimination round.

Fans enjoyed a thrilling night of basketball action in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), as teams displayed strong play and balanced firepower.

The Pampanga Lanterns put up a strong performance in the first game, dominating the Rizal Xentro Mall Golden Coolers from the opening tip-off. In the first half, Pampanga stormed out to a dominating 42-25 lead and never looked back. With their outstanding all-around efforts, Mark Cruz Baltazar and Mark Anthony Serrano were Pampanga’s driving force. With 11 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, 6-foot-8 Baltazar showed off his versatility, while Serrano ignited the offense with 23 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Archie Concepcion, who contributed 13 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds, as well as Jayson Castro Apolonio and newcomer John Lloyd Clemente, who each contributed 12 and 9 points, rounded out the two’s performances. Despite J-Boy Gob and Jeric James Pido’s combined 27 points, Rizal was unable to close the gap and ended up finishing 6-10.

The San Juan Knights won their fourth straight game in the nightcap to extend their winning streak and further establish themselves as a major contender in the league. Seven players scored in double figures for San Juan, showcasing their balanced firepower and highlighting their depth and cohesiveness as a team. Outstanding Mapua University player Adrian Nocum led the way with 15 points, followed by Orlan Wamar, Michael Calisaan, and Taywan, who each scored 11. With 10 points each, Paolo Javillonar, Egie Boy Mojica, and Nikko Panganiban also made significant contributions.

The Knights’ comprehensive performance gave them the edge over the Imus SV Squad and helped them compile an 11-3 record. Bryan Faundo, Jimboy Estrada, and Jaymar Gimpayan put forth 51 points in total, but Imus was unable to match San Juan’s offensive prowess and finished with a 6-8 record.

The MPBL games demonstrated the participant teams’ talent and passion for competition. The decisive victory for Pampanga showed their outstanding performance, and the San Juan Knights’ even scoring demonstrated their strength and unity as a team. These outstanding basketball performances and shows of collaboration energized the crowd and raised expectations for upcoming MPBL games.

Teams will continue to compete on the court as the season goes on, hoping to succeed and earn playoff places. The MPBL gives prospective athletes a stage on which to display their talents and establish themselves in the basketball world. In anticipation of more exhilarating performances and dramatic moments on the road to MPBL triumph, fans eagerly anticipate the upcoming round of games.

With Michael Angelo Macion’s 20 points and 13 rebounds in the first game, Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc. defeated Bicol, 82 to 78, and improved to 3 to 12. Wowie Escosio contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds for Bicol, which has made 16 starts but has yet to win.

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