Pampanga defeats Nueva Ecija in the MPBL’s “Battle of the Titans” in theSweet 16 round

Jul 8, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – Pampanga’s depth proved to be too much for defending champion
Nueva Ecija in a matchup of two dominant teams in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball
League, as they won 76 to 64 on Saturday in front of a filled Bren Guiao Convention Center
to remain unbeaten in 16 games.

The league MVP front-runner Justine Baltazar put on a stunning performance with a 20-20
game. She demonstrated her domination on both ends of the court with her 22 points,
amazing 24 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.

The Giant Lanterns changed the course of the game in the second half under the leadership
of Baltazar’s outstanding performance. They recovered a 33-31 deficit at the break to end
the third quarter with a dominating 56-44 advantage. Their growth was significantly aided
by Baltazar’s presence and effects on the game.

With 10 points of his own, Kurt Reyson of Letran also helped the team win, enhancing the
Giant Lanterns’ whole performance. The Rice Vanguards, on the other hand, were led by
Roi Sumang, who scored 15 points, but their efforts fell short, and they finished with a
record of 14-2.

Along with Reyson and the rest of the team, Baltazar’s excellent performance of domination
and skills helped the Giant Lanterns to a commanding victory. With the victory, they not
only raise their record but also firmly establish themselves as league leaders.
There were 10 points and 9 rebounds from Michael Juico. Prior to the game, Will McAloney
be averaging 14.8 points and 8.0 rebounds, but he was only able to finish with 10 points
and 5 rebounds.

As early as 11:00 AM, people began to line up outside the venue. The provincial
administration installed two enormous LED screens outside the sports complex and at the
grandstand because it was aware that thousands of spectators could not fit inside.
The game attracted a lot of attention on social media as well, peaking at 65,000 spectators
on Facebook Live. The noisy but well-behaved crowd enthusiastically welcomed MPBL
Founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao as he watched the match between the two teams that
are set to compete for the North division title.

In past games, Rizal XentroMall and Bataan came out on top. In the final 27 seconds, James
Castro made all four of his free throws as Bataan edged Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc.,
80 to 76, and Rizal defeated Bacolod, 72 to 63.
With a comfortable victory, the Bataan Risers put a stop to their five-game losing streak.
The Risers demonstrated their tenacity on the floor, led by Dan Sara’s remarkable effort of

16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. Yves Sazon scored 14 points and grabbed
three rebounds, while Robbi Darang chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists,
and three steals.

The Risers increased their collaboration and tenacity under the direction of their new
coach, Frederick Francisco. The team’s triumph also benefited from the contributions of
Jamil Gabawan, Castro, and Jasper Longalong. Gabawan finished with 8 points and 8
rebounds, Castro had 7 points and 5 rebounds, and Longalong had 7 points.

On the other hand, Rizal persevered in spite of his defeat. With his outstanding double-
double effort of 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, Troy Mallillin
distinguished out. With 10 points, Jonas Tibayan also contributed significantly.

The Bacolod team, on the other hand, found it difficult to get into a groove during the game,
which led to a lackluster performance and a drop in their overall record to 6-11. Bacolod’s
only bright spot was Dom Matillano, who managed to score 10 points.

The Bataan Risers’ victory gives them a much-needed boost of confidence and momentum
as they work to elevate their league ranking. The Risers will aim to build on this victory and
continue their pursuit of success in the following games under the guidance of their new
coach and the great performances from their key players.

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