Caloocan continued its come-from-behind playoffsdrive with a 79-69 victory over Muntinlupa on Tuesday in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Their morale lifted by an 86-82 upset of the Batangas City Athletics on Sept. 29, the Caloocan Excellence raced to a 33-16 spread and were never headed to climb to 6-13 in the elimination round of the 22-team tournament.
Sure qualifiers Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines and General Santos trounced lightweights Mindoro, 110-70, and Laguna, 84-49, respectively, in the other games.
Caloocan, being supported by Victory Liner, is locked in a 3-way battle for the eighth and last quarterfinal slot in the North division with Marikina (6-13) and Manila (6-14).
Jomar Santos led Caloocan with 16 points, followed by Reil Cervantes with 14, James Martinez with 12, and Damian Lasco with 10.
Blocking Caloocan’s path toward the quarterfinals are also-ran Makati (1-18) and sure South division qualifier Sarangani (13-5).
Muntinlupa skidded to 4-15 and fell further behind Imus (5-13) in their 2-way race for the last playoff spot in the South division.
Zamboanga got 16 points from Chris Dumapig and 15 from homegrown Jul-Ashri Ignacio in dumping the Mindoro Tamaraws (1-18) and catching up with Batangas at 16-3 in the South division.
The GenSan Warriors banked on Niko Elorde, Christopher Masiglang, Marlon Gomez, and Christian Fajarito in disposing of the 9-man Laguna Krah Asia Heroes and rising to 14-6 in the South division.
Elorde wound up with 14 points, Masiglang 12, Gomez 11, and Fajarito 19.
The MPBL returns to the Orion Sports Complex with another triple-bill on Thursday. Laguna tangles with Marikina at 5 p.m., followed by the Zamboanga-Pampanga tussle at 7 p.m. and the Bataan-Mindoro collision at 9 p.m.