Bacolod City—Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines stayed unscathed as Bacolod Bingo Plus suffered another meltdown on Tuesday in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme here.
Trailing, 65-71, with less than three minutes to go, Zamboanga blanked Bacolod the rest of the way while pouring nine points en route to a 74-71 victory at the full-house University of St. La Salle Gym.
It was the second straight win for Zamboanga in the MPBL’s “City of Smiles Invasion” and its eighth overall in the single round-robin elimination round of the 22-team tournament.
Bacolod, on the other hand, dropped two in a row, including its 74-81 triple overtime loss to Nueva Ecija in a game that started Monday and ended early Tuesday and tumbled to 5-4.
Jaycee Marcelino again starred for Zamboanga, with 18 points, including five in that crucial span, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
He was supported by Jefferson Comia with 12 points and Adrian Santos with 10 as Zamboanga proved it can still win even without injured big men Jhaymo Eguilos and Jayson Grimaldo.
Veteran Mark Yee carried the fight anew for Bacolod with 16 points and 12 rebounds, although he missed a technical foul free throw in the last 1:21.
Jeramer Cabanag scored 10 points, but turned the ball over in the last 10 seconds, paving the way for Ralph Tansingco’s go-ahead lay-up for Zamboanga, 72-71, with five ticks left.
Nueva Ecija also stretched its winning streak to 10 with a 68-61 trouncing of Valenzuela in the opener.
John Bryon Villarias, who played savior for Nueva Ecija against Bacolod, again led the Rice Vanguards in scoring with 12 points. Michael Juico supported Villarias with 10 points plus 5 rebounds, followed by Will McAloney with 8 points and 7 rebounds and Jonathan Uyloan and Bobby Balucanag with 7 points each. Michael Mabulac scored only 5 points, but collared 11 rebounds for the Rice Vanguards.
Nueva Ecija pulled away, 66-51, before relaxing its defenses and enabling Valenzuela to close the gap even if it fell to 4-6.
Valenzuela, which fell to 4-6, got 15 points from Lord Hower Casajeros, 14 points and 11 rebounds from homegrown Jaymar Gimpayan, 13 points from Patrick Cabahug and 10 points from Lester Alvarez.