Baltazar escapes from Bataan with a record-breaking rebound

Jun 8, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – At the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga on Tuesday, Justine Baltazar broke the rebounding record as Pampanga defeated Bataan, 74 to 72, and maintained its perfect record in the fifth season of the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League).

In the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team competition, the 6-foot-9 Baltazar broke his previous record of 26 rebounds with 27 (13 offensive and 14 defensive), and he was a key factor in Pampanga’s 10th consecutive victory.

Additionally, Baltazar scored 13 points, dished out 7 assists, and blocked two shots for Pampanga, which was second in the standings to only Nueva Ecija (11 to 0), the defending champion. Baltazar leads the league in scoring (19.4) and rebounding (17.6) thus far.

Baltazar was assisted by Jayson Apolonio (22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals), and Archie Concepcion (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists).

With 4 minutes and 55 seconds remaining, Bataan was down 55-66, having fallen behind by as much as 14 points.

The Risers were able to draw closer, 65 to 69, with two triples from Ernesto Bondoc in a 10-3 run.

Raymund Binuya of Pampanga then made a layup with 1:08 remaining, but Bataan answered with a 7 to 2 flurry, highlighted by Yves Sazon’s triple that brought the Risers to within 72 to 73 with 3 seconds remaining.

On the subsequent play, Baltazar was fouled. He sank the first of his two free throws, missed the second, but managed to grab the game-winning rebound as time ran out.

James Castro scored 13 points and Sazon finished with 16 for Bataan, who dropped to 6 to 6 overall.

In other matches, the Makati OKBet Kings destroyed the Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc., 86 to 60, while the Pasay Voyagers defeated the Manila Stars, 77 to 70.

Thanks to the combined scoring of AJ Coronel (11 points), Dhon Reverente (10 points), Axel Inigo (13 points), and Laurenz Victoria (16 points), Pasay improved to 8 to 3.

Jonathan Bailon, Adrian Celada, and Julius Pasculado all scored 11 points for Manila.

With a commanding early lead of 72 to 42, Makati pushed past the opposition before cruising to its seventh victory against four losses.

Billy Robles, Marco Sario, and Matthew Daves all scored 14 points, while Robby Celiz scored 15, giving Makati a commanding lead.

Mchael Macion and Allan Martin combined for 11 points for Valenzuela, which dropped to 1-11. Luis Tapenio added 10 points.

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