MANILA, Philippines – In an exciting game this week at the Paco Arena in Manila, the Warriors proved their mettle and defeated Muntinlupa 85-78 to advance to the semifinals of the fifth season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
The Warriors showed their depth and resiliency in Game 3 of the quarterfinal series. Early in the fourth quarter, they had complete control of the game and were up 69-53, a margin of 16 points. With this win, they advanced to the playoff round, where they will play the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics.
The route to the semifinals was exciting and unpredictable. The Warriors of Coach Rich Alvarez won the first game 79-70.
The Cagers, however, rallied and won Game 2 with a score of 99-91. Game 3 was the decisive contest, and the Warriors proved their mettle.
With 22 points and six rebounds, veteran John Wilson once more spearheaded GenSan’s offense. With 14 points and 8 rebounds, Hafer Mondragon was named best player for his significant contribution. The Warriors put in a strong team effort, with many players contributing significantly.
Mark Cruz, who contributed 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, was essential in helping the team win. Jervy Cruz, who was suspended, was ably replaced by Kyt Jimenez and Christian Fajarito. Jimenez scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds, and made two steals, while Fajarito had six points and five rebounds.
Muntinlupa made an effort to make a late-game comeback, trimming the score to 71-80 with 2:23 remaining. A 9-2 run spearheaded by Val Acuna and Dave Morale helped reduce the deficit. With only 48 seconds left on the clock, Mark Cruz of GenSan, however, made a vital three-pointer to secure the victory. This increased the lead to 83-71. The Cagers were unable to overcome this.
John Amores, a talented scorer for Muntinlupa, showed out with 17 points and five rebounds. JP Sarao made a 15 point contribution and grabbed an amazing 14 rebounds, displaying his aggressiveness on the boards. While Ian Melencio posted a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, Val Acuna contributed 15 points and five rebounds. Adding his contribution, Dave Moralde had 10 points and six rebounds.
The quarterfinal game had significance for both the clubs and Manny Pacquiao, the league’s founder and CEO. Pacquiao, a political leader and legendary boxer, demonstrated his support for the MPBL by attending the match and taking part in the fierce rivalry.
The semifinal series between the GenSan Warriors and the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics is the team’s next matchup, and it’s set to start on Saturday at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor, Cavite. Fans can anticipate more thrilling basketball action and triumphant moments as teams compete for the MPBL championship as the playoffs progress.