The deadly rockets were fired by Rhaffy Octobre as Batangas defeated Pampanga 95-92 on Thursday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the packed Batangas State University Gym in Batangas City.
The 6-foot-4 utility forward from Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, and the University of the Visayas scored eight points for the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics, with back-to-back 3-pointers being the highlight. In the elimination round of the 29-team tournament, his performance helped them defeat the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, who eventually lost after 17 straight victories.
Octobre narrowly beat out Levi Hernandez, Batangas’ leading scorer, who also concluded with 19 points, to win the award for best player thanks to his spectacular hits and a total of 19 points.
John Ambulodto added 12 points, notably a reverse lay-up in the final 20 seconds, to Juneric Baloria’s 14 points. With only 7.1 seconds left, Dawn Ochea made two free throws to make it 95-89, sealing Batangas’ 14th victory versus 4 defeats. Kurt Reyson then added a three-pointer to make the score final.
Encho Serrano of Pampanga finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Justine Baltazar, who is currently in the running for MVP, finished with 17 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks.
In the closely contested game, which saw 21 lead changes and 14 ties, Archie Concepcion scored 15 points. Neither team held a top superior score of nine points.
In the opening match of the tripleheader, Makati outplayed Sarangani and won 115-88. With a 102-88 victory over Bacolod, Negros also prevailed.
The games began at 5 p.m., one hour late. Owing to flooding-related traffic, which affected league staff and several teams traveling from Metro Manila.
The Makati OKBet Kings improved their playoff chances with a 12-6 record with Emman Calo’s 18 points and four other players scoring in double figures.
The Negros Muscovados 102-88 in the Battle of Panay thanks to Jason Melano’s 23 points and 11 rebounds defeated the Bacolod Maskaras.
The Negros team caught up to their opponent at 7-12 thanks to the 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists from Jun Manzo and 12 points and 8 boards from Bernie Bregondo.
Sarangani dropped to an 8-11 record despite Rommel Calahat’s remarkable effort of 26 points and 13 rebounds.