Edmonton—Manny Pacquiao settled for a double-double as the MP Team subdued the Edmonton All-Stars, 101-91, on Saturday, December 28 (Sunday, December 29, in Manila) in the windup of the Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Canada Invasion at Edmonton Expo Center.
The MPBL Founder and CEO wound up with 33 points, including back-to-back triples that quelled Edmonton’s final rally, and 10 rebounds to go with seven assists and two steals that nearly duplicated his 31-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist effort in a 116-99 victory over Team Casey Calgary on Friday.
Playing without relief to satisfy the longing of the crowd, Senator Pacquiao was ably supported by younger brother Congressman Bobby, who accounted for 26 points and four rebounds in the third and last exhibition game.
With MP Team ahead, 83-67, Edmonton sprung to life with 11 straight points, the last eight by CJ Liwanag, to threaten at 83-78 with still 6 minutes and 35 seconds left.
Batangas Athletics center Jhaymo Eguilos, however, completed a three-point play and Pacquiao, the eight-division boxing world champion who’s passionate about basketball, knocked in the triples to restore order, 94-78, less than five minutes left.
Davao Occidental Tigers star Mark Yee missed his usual double-double with nine points, 15 rebounds and two steals while Eguilos finished with eight points for MPT, which also got seven points and five rebounds from Bicol Volcanoes’ Chris Lalata.
Other members of MPT, which was coached by Cong. Dong Gonzales, owner of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, and assisted by MPBL Deputy Commissioner Zaldy Realubit, were Paolo Hubalde (Valenzuela Classic), Jeff Viernes (Batangas), Michael Juico (Pampanga), Aris Dionisio (Manila Stars) and Gerald Anderson (Imus Bandera).
Completing the team were MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, Operations Head Emmer Oreta and panelists Christian Luanzon, Martin Antonio and Rodney Santos.
In the opener, Anderson played the hero’s role as Imus Bandera Luxxe Slim thwarted Wysman Storm, 89-88, in overtime.
Anderson scored the game’s last four points, including the winning spinning layup, as the Bandera clawed their way back from a 45-21 deficit and seized control at 73-66, on a triple by Anderson, who ended up with 14 points.
Imus was ahead, 79-77, entering the homestretch but Wysom’s Stefan Favis drilled in a jumper with 1.5 seconds left to force overtime.
Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, behind the guns of Alvin Pasaol and Anton Asistio, coasted to a 108-101 victory over Edmonton Team 2 in the second game.
Zamboanga beat Imus Bandera, 88-72, in an official game of the Lakan Season on Friday.
The MPBL delegation will be heading home on separate flights on Sunday with Pacquiao, wife Jinkee and their children staying behind.