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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Abra stuns Pangasinan, Zamboanga trips Valenzuela in MPBL inaugurals

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Abra banked on the sudden explosion of John Lloyd Clemente to stun fellow newcomer Pangasinan,83-75, near midnight Saturday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season at the people-packed Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

With Abra behind, 70-71, Clemente, recruited out of powerhouse Pampanga, clustered eight points with two triples sandwiching a layup, to push the Weavers ahead for good, 78-70, with 2 minutes and 9 seconds left.

Hesed Gabo and Ian Melencio tried to bail out Pangasinan with back-to-back baskets, but former 3×3 standout Mark Tallo of Abra defused the threat with a triple going to the last 43 seconds.

Tallo wound up with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals to lead the Weavers of Coach Jonathan Banal. The 6-foot slasher got ample support from Clemente with 12 points, Prince Caperal with 10, all in the first half; Michael Canete with 9 points, NCAA Season 99 MVL Clint Escamis with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists; and Wendelino Comboy with 8 points.

Conmboy’s back-to-back triples, followed by a Tallo layup pushed Abra ahead, 70-64, before Pangasinan countered with seven straight points to briefly control, 71-70, with 4 minutes and 25 seconds left.
Then Clemente took over.

Pangasinan drew a game-high 26 points, plus 5 assists and 4 rebounds from Gabo, who reunited with Jerson Cabiltes, his former mentor with the 2022 MPBL champion Nueva Ecija, to head the Heatwaves, who got 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists from Ian Melencio, 10 points and 9 rebounds from Michael Mabulac and 9 points plus 3 rebounds from Ed Daquioag.

Earlier, Zamboanga Masters Sardines went through overtime before subduing the retooled Valenzuela Classic, 82-76.

Renzo Subido delivered for Zamboanga Coach Louie Alas in the extension with 5 points to preserve the heroics of former MVP Jaycee Marcelino, who poured 26 points and 8 rebounds, Rey Publico with 10 points, and Adrian Santos and Joseph Terso with 8 points each.

Valenzuela got 24 points from Dennis Santos, 12 from Orin Catacutan and 10 from Valandre Chauca.

MPBL Founder Manny Pacquiao graced the opening ceremonies and watched the inaugural games of the 30-team league.

The MPBL goes to the Kamalig Coliseum on Monday with a three-game offering pitting Bicol against Mindoro at 4 p.m., Marikina against Negros at 6 p.m., and Sarangani against Bataan at 8 p.m.

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