Action heats up on the hardcourt as the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup playoffs take off this Tuesday (March 12) on ABS-CBN S+A as it brings the action between the Bulacan Kuyas and Manila Stars LIVE at 7 pm followed by the Bataan Risers versus the Caloocan Supremos at 9 pm.
Sweet-shooting James Martinez will lead the Kuyas against the Reil Cervantes-led Manila Stars in their playoff series, while the league-leading Risers will use their three-headed monster of veteran gunner Gary David, Pamboy Raymundo, and Byron Villarias to overpower the Supremos.
With their star trio averaging a combined 31.77 points, the Risers are currently sitting on top of the standings at 23-2, but are still lacking a solid power forward and center to go deep in the MPBL Datu Cup playoffs, according to MPBL resident analyst, Coach Martin “Hammer” Antonio.
However, he doesn’t see Bataan having problems with the Supremos in the coming playoffs. The more dangerous teams to him are the Manila Stars and the Davao Occidental Tigers, steered by former King Stag Leo Najorda, both entering the playoffs with identical 20-5 win-loss records.
“The regular season favors young teams like Bataan, who lead the league atop the standings right now. But the Playoffs is a different beast. The Risers have a glaring hole in the middle which the more experienced and veteran-laden squads like Manila and Davao can take advantage of,” he shared.
The veteran analyst and basketball coach added that he sees Manila and San Juan facing off for the North Conference Finals while the Davao Tigers and the GenSan Warriors will try to knock each other off down South.
He added, “Moving to the Finals, the Stars will be hard-pressed to deal with the Tigers’ mix of a stacked team, the probable MVP in Najorda, and a great coaching staff, with the southern squad claiming the national title,” Antonio added.
Other teams seeing action in the playoffs, which will be aired live on S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant Sports, are the Makati Super Crunch with Jeckster Apinan; San Juan Knights and former King Bomber John Wilson; Muntinlupa Cagers led by Allan Mangahas; Bulacan Kuyas with former Red Warrior James Martinez; and the GenSan Warriors helmed by John Orbeta.
Don’t miss the opening salvo of the MPBL Datu Cup playoffs with the Bulacan-Manila tiff and Bataan-Caloocan this Tuesday (March 12) starting at 7 pm. For more stories and news on the “Liga ng Bayan,” MPBL, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com
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