Retooled Batangas City Embassy Chill and reinforced Sarangani shoot for their third straight win when they tackle separate opponents on Saturday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season at the Batangas City Coliseum.
Batangas will battle GenSan OK Bet at 9 p.m., following the Sarangani-Marikina tussle at 7 p.m.
Led by former stars and the head coach of Makati, Batangas has beaten Imus, 76-56, and Pasig, 67-60, in succession and is favored to beat GenSan, which dropped its first game against Bataan, 76-81.
Juniors Baloria, Cedric Ablaza, Jeckster Opinion, and Rudy Linganay have transferred to Batangas which is now being mentored by Cholo Villanueva. They will join hands with hotshot Levi Hernandez and big man John Ambulodto in trying to put the Athletics back in title contention again after clinching the MPBL’s inaugural title in 2018.
GenSan, which has homegrown actor Gerald Anderson in its roster, will draw firepower from Mark Cruz, Jaypee Belencion and Marlon Gomez.
Banking on the backcourt tandem of Yvan Ludovice and YouTube sensation Kyt Jimenez, Sarangani subdued Valenzuela, 77-73, and Rizal Xentro Mall, 94-83, respectively, to gain a share of the lead in the 22-team tournament.
Ludovice is averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 assists thus far while Jimenez is norming 21 points and 8 rebounds, posting Coach John Kallos a solid 1-2 punch.
Other key players for the Sarangani Marlins are veteran Gabby Espinas, the NCAA’s first rookie-MVP, Paul Sanga and Donald Gumaru.
After nipping Manila, 78-77, in its first game, Marikina turned dismal against Valenzuela and got routed, 48-66.
The Shoemasters’ fate will depend on what version they will show against the Marlins tonight.