San Juan did it coast-to-coast, while Quezon City woke up in the second half to rout their respective opponents in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme on Monday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Banking on the explosive tandem of Justin Gutang and Judel Fuentes, the San Juan Knights trounced the Imus Bandera Xtreme, 86-57, while Quezon City MG Cars rode the triple-double of Marcy Arellano to dump the Marikina Shoe Masters, 92-79.
Gutang scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Fuentes did 21 and 4 as San Juan sped ahead, 26-14, in the first quarter and proceeded to raise its record to 3-3 in the single round-robin eliminations of the 22-team, 2-division tournament.
Routed off the boards, 27-52, Imus tumbled to 2-4 as none of the 15 players fielded managed to score in double-digits.
Arellano posted 13 points, 10 rebounds and a record-tying 17 assists as Quezon City wiped out a 14-point halftime deficit and notched its second win in five starts pulling away.
Mel Mabigat added 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Levi Dela Cruz contributed 10 points to complement the effort of Arellano, who matched the 17 assists set by Imus Bandera’s Allan Mangahas while playing for Muntinlupa in 2019.
Marikina, powered by Kyle Tolentino’s record 21 points in the second quarter, surged ahead at 44-30 at the break only to turn cold in the second half and trail by as far as 64-84.
Tolentino ended up with 28 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists for Marikina, which fell to 1-5.
The Manila Stars also drubbed the debuting Muntinlupa Cagers, 103-74, in the opener to trigger the day of lopsided victories.
Manila drew 17 points from Joaquin Manalo, 14 from Marvin Lee, 12 from Kobe Monje and 10 from veteran Gary David and climbed to 2-5.
Marikina got 14 points plus 8 rebounds from Harold Arboleda, 13 points plus 7 rebounds from Domark Matillano and 10 points from Angel Mendoza.
The MPBL plays at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City for the first time with another triple-bill on Tuesday.
Powerhouse Nueva Ecija seeks its seventh straight win against Laguna (1-4) at 9 p.m., following the Makati-Bacoor tussle at 5 p.m. and the Pampanga-Caloocan collision at 7 p.m.