MANILA, Philippines – In the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme elimination round at the Orion Sports Complex in Bataan, Pasig and San Juan dominated their opponents to strengthen their drives for the top four slots.
While the Pasig Realtors defeated the Laguna Krah Asia Heroes, 74-58, to improve to 13-5 and take over second place in the North division behind unbeaten leaders Nueva Ecija, the San Juan Knights pounced on the cold-shooting Bataan Risers to win, 90-74. (19-0).
Laguna was never able to catch up to Pasig after it roared to a 63-38 lead.
With 18 points, Robbie Manalang helped Pasig win for the sixth time in a row. Ryan Paule Costelo and Rey Anthony Peralta scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.
John Paul Nietes scored 17 points for Laguna, which dropped to 3-14, and Floyd Dedicatoria and Mico Bren Pallares each scored 10 points.
The Bacoor Strikers surged away at 71-46 and were never troubled on their route to seventh place. Mark Montuano and Salvador Galit each contributed 19 points for the team. Galit and Montuano each contributed 7 and 6 rebounds.
Bacoor defeated Valenzuela as well, 98-83, improving their record to 8-11 in the South division.
In the best-of-three quarter final playoffs, the top four finishers in each division will have the advantage of playing at home.
Expecting a tough battle, the Knights found the Risers to be an easy target as they increased their record to 12-6 and moved up to fourth place in the North division by taking a 23-point lead, 82-59, behind the shooting of Judel Fuentes and Dexter Maiquez.
San Juan was powered by Fuentes’ 24 points, Marquez’s 20 points, and 11 rebounds, while the Bataan scorers James Dwrin Castro, Ernesto Bondoc, and Arvie Bringas only managed 12, 11, and 9 points, respectively.
Despite Patrick Cabahug’s 26 points and Jaymar Gipayan’s 20 points, Valenzuela lost 9-10.