General Santos—The General Santos Warriors withstood the fourth quarter onslaught of the Bacoor Strikers and prevailed, 75-74, on Tuesday to boost their playoffs drive in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme at the Lagao Gym here.
Trailing most of the way, the Strikers struck back through RJ Ramirez and seized the lead at 64-62 early in the fourth quarter.
With Ramirez pouring 15 of his 19 points and Mark Montuano adding a jumper, Bacoor last led at 74-73 with 36.5 seconds left.
Dhon Reverente, however, pierced Bacoor’s defense for a layup that turned out to be the marginal basket with 248 seconds to go.
The OKbet-backed Warriors posted their seventh straight win and climbed to an 11-5 record in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 22-team tournament. Bacoor, supported by Picur, dropped to 6-10.
Nikko Panganiban led the Warriors with 17 points and 5 rebounds, followed by Mark Cruz with 14 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.
GenSan pride Gerald Anderson contributed 8 points, matching the output of Niko Elorde, plus 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Homegrown Ian Melencio supported Ramirez with 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds while Mark Montuano chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Bacolod Bingo Plus, powered by Mark Yee, subdued Quezon City MG Cars, 79-64, in the first game to improve to 10-7. Quezon City skidded to 7-8.
MPBL CEO and founder Manny Pacquiao watched the games with wife Jinkee and GenSan Mayor and sister-in-law Lorelei Pacquiao.
The league’s Mindanao swing takes a two-day break and will resume on Friday with a doubleheader at the Sarangani Capitol Gym in Alabel. The games will pit Muntinlupa against Bacolod at 7 p.m. and Sarangani against Quezon City at 9 p.m.