Nueva Ecija wins its 11th straight game in the MPBL thanks to McAloney and Villarias

May 30, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – at the jam-packed Imus Sports Complex in Cavite, defending champion Nueva Ecija humiliated Imus 84 to 63, demonstrating that they are still the team to beat in the OKBet–MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season.

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, led by Will McAloney and Byron Villarias, defeated the veteran-heavy Imus Squad in the 29-team tournament’s elimination phase, dominating by as many as 25 points (84 to 59) to extend their winning run to 11 games.

Both Quezon Province and Pasig City MCW Sports defeated their opponents by large margins on the same day: Quezon Province defeated Laguna Krah Asia 101 to 76 with the help of all 15 of their players, and Pasig City MCW Sports defeated Bicol 115 to 75.

Imus suffered their sixth defeat in ten games at the hands of Nueva Ecija as McAloney scored a game-high 25 points and pulled down 6 rebounds, while Villarias added 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

In addition to JR Taganas’ 10 rebounds, they received assistance from Michael Mabulac, Chris Bitoon, and Renz Palma, who each contributed 8 points. The Rice Vanguards, despite being the smaller team, controlled the boards, out rebounding their rivals 45 to 42.

Multiple slam-dunk king Nino Canaleta scored 15 points for Imus, Marc ‘Pinoy Sakuragi’ Pingris scored 11 points and grabbed 9 boards, and Johnsherick Estrada scored 10 points.

The nagging Nueva Ecija defense, however, managed to limit former superstars Mac Cardona and Jayjay Helterbrand to 2 points and 0 points, respectively.

At 92 to 63 midway through the fourth quarter, Quezon sealed the victory with five Huskers scoring in double figures. They then continued to dominate to end their three-game losing run and climb to 8 to 3.

Alfrancis Tamsi and Mark Pangilinan both scored 13 points to lead Quezon, which was then followed by Daryl Pascual (12), Raffy Verano (11) and Brix Ramos (10).

Laguna dropped to 2 to 10 despite the excellent effort of Nino Ibanez, who finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

By defeating bottom-dwelling Bicol for the 12th time in a row, Pasig improved to 8 to 4 on the strength of 33 points from Ryan Costelo.

Piefce Tyron Chan led the way for Costelo with 14 points, followed by Kenny Roger Rocacurva with 13, and Robbie Manalang and Shane Menina with 10 points apiece. Shane Menina also pulled down 12 rebounds.

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