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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nueva Ecija subdues Mindoro

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Nueva Ecija flashed its fiery form while Abra and Pangasinan gained traction in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season on Saturday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards subdued the Mindoro Tamaraws, 79-68, in the opener for their second straight win that revved up their drive toward regaining the 2022 national title.

The Abra Weavers recovered from a flat start to trounce the Negros Muscovados, 69-57, in the second game and boost their record to 3-2 in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Propped up by the big hometown crowd, the Pangasinan Heatwaves torched the Marikina Shoemasters, 80-68, in the nightcap to raise their record to 2-3.

Powered by Rob Celiz, JP Maguilano and Jay Collado, Nueva Ecija took control at 53-37 and was never headed.

Celiz finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds to earn best player honors. Maguilano posted 11 points plus 5 rebounds and Collado tallied 10 points plus 3 rebounds for Nueva Ecija, now being coached by Don Dulay.

Other Rice Vanguards who delivered were Mer Jesper Ayaay with 9 points and 7 rebounds and prized recruit JB Bahio with 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Mindoro, which tasted its fourth straight defeat after an initial win, got 12 points each from homegrown John Jerrick Caspe and veteran Karl Bono, 11 points from Top Gun Andres Desiderio and 8 from homegrown Rogel Vaygan.

Bolstered by the return of 6-foot-7 Prince Caperal, Abra charged back from a 0-12 start and a 34-37 halftime deficit to pull away at 69-56.

Wendelino Comboy led Abra with 15 points plus 3 rebounds, followed by Michael Canete with 14 points plus 5 rebounds.

Caperal tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds while prized recruit Clint Escamis posted 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals for the Weavers.

Negros, with no player able to break twin digits, dropped to a tie with its tormentor at 3-2. The Muscovados got 9 points from Alvin John Capobres and 8 each from James Paul Una and Mark Atabay.

Pangasinan banked on Michael Mabulac’s 12 points and 13 rebounds to thwart Marikina, which opened the game with an 8-point run.

Other Heatwaves who delivered were Hesed Gabo with 10 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds, Vince Tolentino with 10 points, all in the third quarter, and homegrown Jr Caasi with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Marikina, which suffered its fifth straight defeat, got 11 points each from homegrowns Eloie Tan and Jomel Landayan.

The MPBL returns to the San Andres Sports Complex on Monday with a triple bill pitting Bacolod against Caloocan at 4 p.m., South Cotabato against Zamboanga at 6 p.m. and Quezon against Manila t 8 p.m.

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