Balanga – A family feud in the MPBL northern division finals.
This was made possible after the Manila Stars edged home team Bataan Risers, 56-51, to set up a best-of-three showdown with the San Juan Knights.
The Stars got a timely explosion from Riel Cervantes, who unloaded 18 of his 20 points in the second half, highlighted by his two triples in the final two minutes to steer Manila to a series-clinching victory over Bataan, the top seed in the tournament.
Cervantes hit two triples – the first one in the 2:34 mark that gave the Stars a 51-45 lead and the other one with 1:09 left that put Manila ahead, 54-47, which practically took the fight out of the Risers.
“Nakakuha lang ako ng momentum kaya mas nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa tumira,” said Cervantes.
As expected, both teams struggled to shoot as no team shot better than 28 percent with Bataan making only 19-of-66. Manila was even more horrible, hitting only 25 percent (20-of-80).
Still, Manila found a way to win despite shooting only 50 percent from the foul line (12-of-24) as Bataan even had a horrendous stint shooting from the foul line of its home floor, making only 37-percent (10-of-27).
Head coach Philip Cezar of Manila believes his team won because of the extra effort on the defensive end.
“'Yung pressure defense namin sa backcourt and 'yung extra effort namin sa rebounding, malaking bagay 'yun,” he added.
Marvin Hayes grabbed 16 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end as he led the Stars in getting more second chance points. Manila had 19 second chance points, 11 more than its rival.