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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Batangas edges Bacoor in OT; Quezon City, Imus tame rivals

Levi Hernandez drilled in seven triples, capped by the marginal basket, as Batangas City edged Bacoor, 87-86, in overtime on Tuesday in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the Orion Sports Complex in Bataan.

The escape act, sparked by Hernandez’s 25 points, raised Batangas City Embassy Chill’s record to 14-1 in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament.

The Strikers could have won the game outright had they converted their charities in the homestretch of regulation play and RJ Ramirez made a buzzer-beater. Instead, they made just one of four tries and tumbled to 5-8.

Imus Bandera nipped Caloocan, 88-85, in the opener, while Quezon City foiled host Bataan, 91-89, in the nightcap.

Antonio Jeffrey Coronel posted 20 points for Imus, which tied its victim at 4-9, followed by Jaymark Mallari with 15, Rene Pacquiao with 11 and Leo Najorda and Adven Jess Diputado with 10 each.

Caloocan got 18 points from Jomar Santos, 16 from Buenaventura Raflores and 14 from Raffy Octobre.

Quezon City MG Cars pulled ahead at 85-78, but Bataan rallied through Arvie Bringas, Ernesto Bondoc and James Darwin Castro and leveled the score at 89.

Christopher Menguez, however, silenced the hometown crowd when he drove in and handed Quezon City its seventh win against six losses. Bataan dropped to 8-6.

Bacoor, with Ramirez scoring 9, unleashed 16 points against Hernandez’s lone trey to seize control at 71-63 with 4 minutes and 35 seconds left.

Hernandez, however, sizzled with three straight triples and Jeckster Apinan drove in to knot the count at 74.

Ramirez canned a triple against a turnaround jumper by Vincent Importante, 77-76, after which Edzel Mag-isa flubbed two free throws and Ian Melencio split his, enabling Batangas’ Mark Niel Cruz to send the game into overtime.

Apinan supported Hernandez with 13 points and 9 rebounds and so did Mark Niel Cruz with 11 points and 6 rebounds and John Rey Villanueva with 11 points and 9 rebounds.

Bacoor got 18 points from Ramirez, 14 points from Mark Pangilinan, 12 points plus 14 rebounds from Mark Montuano and 12 points and 9 rebounds from Mag-isa.

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