Davao Occidental, Zamboanga and Pampanga stretched their win runs Tuesday (Dec. 17) to further bolster their playoffs drive in the Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at Bahayang Pag-asa Gym in Valenzuela City.
The Davao Occidental Tigers repulsed the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, 75-71, to keep top spot in the South division and share the best record with North division pacesetter San Juan Knights at 20-3.
The Pampanga Giant Lanterns, on the other hand, tripped the Pasay Voyagers, 75-65, to climb to 15-9 in the North while Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines trounced Valenzuela Carga backload Solution, 85-78, to rise to 15-10 in the South.
It was the fourth straight victory for Davao Occidental, the third in a row for Zamboanga, and the second consecutive for Pampanga, pushing all of them inside the top 8 of each division which will advance to the playoffs.
Their aim now is to make the top 4 and gain the homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
The Tigers met stiff resistance from the Realtors, who were still ahead (67-64) going to the last five minutes.
Showing why he’s among the leaders in the MVP race, Mark Yee tallied game-highs 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Cocolife-supported Tigers.
Yee was supported by Yvan Ludovice with 11 points and 5 rebounds and Bonbon Custodio with 10 points and 4 assists.
The Realtors, who dropped to 14-9 in the North, got 15 points from Robbie Manalang and 10 each from Leo Najorda and Josan Nimes.
Alvin Pasaol delivered for Zamboanga with 24 points and 9 rebounds, followed by Leonard Santillan with 14 points and 7 rebounds, former pro Raffy Reyes with 12 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, and Anton Asistio with 11 points.
Way ahead, 76-57, Zamboanga allowed Valenzuela to drop an 8-point salvo before Pasaol cut short the uprising with four straight points.
Tiny Mark Cruz again played big for the Giant Lanterns, coming through with 14 points, including 5 points in 27 seconds that gave them a 62-47 spread, 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
Other major contributors for the Bong Ramos-mentored Pampanga were Levi Hernandez with 15 points and 4 rebounds, Dexter Maiquez with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, and Michael Juico with 12 points and 4 rebounds.
The Voyagers moved to within 59-64 but eventually tumbled to their 11th loss in 24 starts.