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Quezon nips Batangas in OT for solo lead; Mindoro, QC hurdle MPBL rivals

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STREAKING Quezon bunched 8 points to break free then got a dagger 3 to nip Batangas, 91-89, on Saturday and gain the solo lead in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season elimination round at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.

Down by two, the Quezon Huskers drew back-to-back triples from Xyrus Torres followed by a Gab Banal drive to seize control, 85-79, with 1 minute and 28 seconds to go in the extension.

Although the Batangas Tanduay Rum Masters threatened at 82-85, local icon Topeng Lagrama drilled in a triple with 26.1 seconds left to virtually seal the Huskers’ eighth straight win that pushed them ahead of the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and the San Juan Knights, both with 7-0 cards.

Batangas dropped to 7-2.

It was a similar situation in regulation, when Quezon unloaded 9 points to break free, 71-65, with only 25.2 seconds to go.

The never-say-die Rum Masters, however, responded with a 5-point cluster, and after Quezon’s LJ Gonzales canned two charities, MJ Dela Virgen again bailed out Batangas with a triple to forge overtime at 73-73, only 5.1 ticks left.

Banal, a former league MVP, posted 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, followed by Gonzales with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Ximone Sandagon chalked 14 points and 5 rebounds, while NCAA Season 98 MVP Will Gozum added 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists for the Huskers.

Batangas got 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists from Cedric Ablaza and 18 points, including 8 in overtime, 8 rebounds and 3 assists from Jong Baloria.

Dela Virgen pooled 13 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals, while Dawn Ochea chipped in 13 points and 8 rebounds for the Rum Masters.

Other games saw Mindoro stun Pasay, 96-88, and Quezon City edge Iloilo, 74-71.

The Mindoro Tamaraws rode on the heads-up plays of Ken Bono, Andres Desiderio and John Jerrick Caspe to climb to 4-6.

Flashing the form that made him the 2006 UAAP MVP, the burly 6-foot-5 Bono posted 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists to earn best player honors.

Desiderio contributed 21 points, 6 rebounds plus 4 assists, while local find Caspe tallied 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

Together, they got the better of Pasay counterparts Patrick Sleat, Laurenz Victoria and Warren Bonifacio.

Pasay skidded to 5-4 despite the 29-point, 3-point, 3-assist, 3-steal effort of Patrick Sleat, the 18-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist output of Laurenz Victoria and the 15-point, 7-rebound, 2-assist line of Warren Bonifacio.

Quezon City improved to 4-5 behind Paeng Are’s 14 points and 4 rebounds, Kim Kaizen Lo’s 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists plus 2 steals, and Rhinwill Yambing’s 11 points and 3 rebounds.

Ilolo, which slipped to 2-7, got 24 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals from CJ Cansino and 10 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks from Shaquille Imperial.

The MPBL returns to the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center on Monday, May 27. The games pit South Cotabato against Bicol at 4 p.m., San Juan against Negros at 6 p.m. and Paranaque against Pampanga at 8 p.m.


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