Balanga—Bataan brought down Caloocan in a one-sided game, while Manila edged Bulacan to take a head-start in their MPBL playoffs best-of-three quarterfinals series late Tuesday night.
The top-seeded Risers ripped the Supremos, 91-71, at home and moved a win away from notching a Final Four seat in the tough northern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao, with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Two players ended up with a double-double performance, while three others tallied in double figures for Bataan, a team which barely made it to the playoffs in the inaugural staging of the tournament, but has topped the elimination round this season.
Ryan Batino finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while veteran guard Pamboy Raymundo came away with 11 markers on top of 11 assists for the Risers of head coach Jojo Lastimosa.
Byron Villarias led Bataaan’s production with 18 points followed by Gab Dagangon, who had 15.
Also tallying double-digit output was Russel Escoto with 11 points.
If Bataan won by a breeze, Manila, the fourth seeded team in the north, had to struggle before winning over No.5 ranked Bulacan, 69-65.
The Stars, a team known for their firepower, worked double time on defense — and the target was to shackle the Kuyas’ high-scoring guards, James Martinez and Jeric Canada.
Both players were held scoreless by the airtight defense of the Stars, who are also a win away from making the semifinal round of the northern division in the tournament also supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.