GenSan and Muntinlupa continued their recovery in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme with victories on Saturday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
The GenSan Warriors beat the Pasig Realtors, 61-51, in the second game, while the Muntinlupa Cagers bested the Marikina Shoemasters, 69-64, in the nightcap of the triple-header.
As expected, the Batangas City Embassy Chill overpowered Makati MNL Kingpins, 93-59, in the opener and vaulted to 8-0 in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament.
Mark Cruz and Nikko Panganiban led the offense while Dhon Reverente took care of the boards as GenSan, which is being supported by title sponsor OKbet, posted its third straight win and improved to 4-4.
Cruz tallied 19 points, 3 rebounds and 4 steals while Panganiban contributed 13 points. Reverente hauled down 24 rebounds, 16 on the defensive end, and added 10 points for the Warriors, who hardly missed the services of homegrown actor Gerald Anderson.
Pasig, which absorbed its 3rd loss in seven starts, got 12 points from Jun Manzo, 11 points and 12 rebounds from Marc Tamayo and 11 points and 8 rebounds from Alvin Baetiong.
Banking on John Cantimbuhan Jr. and Domark Matillano, Muntinlupa foiled Marikina’s final assault to make it back-to-back after dropping its first game.
Cantimbuhan wound up with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, while Matillano posted 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals for Muntinlupa.
Marikina, also backed by OKbet, absorbed its seventh straight defeat after winning its first game.
Buenaventura Raflores posted 19 points, only 2 coming in the second half, 8 rebounds and 3 steals for Marikina, which got 13 points from Ryan Isaac Sual, 12 from Antonio Joson and 10 from Top Gun Yves Sazon.
Playing against Makati, their former team which dumped them, Cedric Ablaza, Jeckster Apinan, Rudy Lingganay, and Jhong Baloria showed no compassion and pulled down the MNL Kingpins to 1-9.
Ablaza posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, Apinan 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assist, Lingganay 9 points and 7 assists, and Baloria 8 points for Batangas Coach Cholo Villanueva, who also served as Makati mentor with the quartet playing.
“I’m just so happy for my players, especially Ced, Rudy, Jhong and Jecks, since they finally closed a chapter, said Villanueva. “They have been carrying this for the past year and I’m just proud that they did not let their emotions get in their way in this game.”