Nueva Ecija tries to make it back-to-back over Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines when they tangle in Game 2 of the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme on Monday, December 5, at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City.
Leaning on the fourth-quarter explosion of Hesed Gabo, the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards subdued the Zamboanguenos, 81-75, in the opener of their best-of-five series on Friday.
Owing to their deeper roster and home court advantage, the Rice Vanguards have been picked for a repeat that would give them a 2-0 edge over the Zamboanguenos.
Other than Gabo, who poured 18 of his game-high 22 points in the last 10 minutes, Nueva Ecija Coach Jerson Cabiltes has plenty of players who can deliver like John Bryon Villarias, Will McAloney, Michael Mabulac, Jay Collado and Michael Juico–all members of the MPBL 1,000-point club.
Villarias contributed 19 points, including 5 triples, while McAloney added 11 points in Game 1.
Also in the potent Nueva Ecija rotation are Chris Bitoon, Renz Palma, Jonathan Uyloan, JR Taganas, Pamboy Raymundo, Bobby Balucanag and Philip Manalang.
Zamboanga Coach Vic Ycasiano, on the other hand, will call on twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, Jhapz Bautista, Chris Dumapig and Jhaymo Eguilos in their bid to steal one game on the road from the Rice Vanguards.
For Zamboanga to have better chances, Chito Jayme, Irven Palencia, Addy Santos, John Lopez and Cyrus Tabi must also contribute.