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Monday, June 24, 2024

Vanguard, Huskers share lead in MPBL

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Nueva Ecija turned hot as Manila cooled in the fourth quarter, handing the Rice Vanguards a 78-62 victory and a share of the lead in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Sixth Season elimination round on Saturday at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City.

Flashing the form that made them the 2022 MPBL champion, the Rice Vanguards dropped 21 points behind Mer Jesper Ayaay, Rob Celiz and Michael Juico, in the final frame to tally their fifth straight victory in as many starts, tying them with the Quezon Huskers and the San Juan Knights.

Ayaay a former starter of the Lyceum Pirates, poured 8 of his 14 points in that span, Celiz made 6 of his team-high 18, and Juico 4 of his 15 as Nueva Ecija posted its biggest margin at the buzzer.

Manila fell to 4-3, but is expected to recover as it will be bolstered by 7-footer Greg Slaughter and the suspended 6-7 Rabeh Al-Hussaini in its succeeding games.

Other games saw Davao Occidental continue its rise with a 91-55 drubbing of Bulacan, and Paranaque wield fiery form in a 100-67 thrashing of Sarangani.

The Davao Occidental Tigers, powered by Dariel Bayla, Dave Arana, Bambam Gamalinda and Biboy Enguio, led throughout and extended their win-run to five after an initial loss.

Bayla posted 18 points and 11 rebounds, Arana 17 points, 5 rebounds plus 2 steals, Gamalinda 15 points and 4 rebounds, and Enguio 10 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 rebounds for the Tigers, the MPBL Lakan Season champion.

Bulacan tumbled to 1-7 as only homegrown Lawrence Mallari could tally twin digits with 11.

Paranaque, with six players contributing double figures, led by as far as 96-60 before cruising to its sixth win in seven starts.

Homegrown Paolo Castro paced Paranaque with 16 points, followed by Lean Vincent Martel with 12 points plus 8 rebounds, homegrown JR Olegario with 11 points plus 7 rebounds, and JP Sarao, John Uduba and homegrown Alec Lauren Elorde with 10 points each.

Sarangani, which dropped to 1-6, 18 points from Magan Galang, 11 from Jomar Madayag and 10 from Gino Jumao-as.

The MPBL goes to the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on Monday with another triple-bill. The games pit Valenzuela against Imus at 4 p.m., Muntinlupa against Binan at 6 p.m. and Bataan against Pampanga at 8 p.m.

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