MPBL: Manila out­guns erst­while un­beaten Muntinlupa

Business World - - World Sports - Rey Joble

MUNTINLUPA IS un­scathed no more. Manila brought it’s A-game Wed­nes­day night and dealt the An­ge­lis Re­sort-backed Cagers their first loss af­ter go­ing per­fect for eight games, mak­ing the race to the top a lot more in­ter­est­ing.

Not fazed by the wildly cheer­ing crowd sup­port­ing Muntinlupa, the Ro­bust En­ergy Cap­sule-sup­ported Manila went to its fast break­ing game, beat­ing the Cagers to the ground. The dis­par­ity in fast break points told it all — 32-2, a new record in the MPBL — and the Stars took pride be­com­ing the first team to deal Muntinlupa its first loss of the sea­son.

“We were re­ally chal­lenged by the fact that we were play­ing them in front of their home­town crowd,” said PBA Hall of Famer Philip Cezar, head coach of the Stars. “This team has a ten­dency of play­ing re­laxed when play­ing lowly-ranked teams, but plays good when matched up against top teams.”

Manila did just that as five play­ers ended up in dou­ble fig­ures for the Stars led by Marvin Hayes, who fin­ished with 18 points. Fel­low exPBA player Reil Cer­vantes added 17, Chris Bi­toon contributed 16, Aris Dion­i­sio had an­other mon­sters game of 15 points and 20 re­bounds. Jhy­gruz Laude chipped in 13.

Ear­lier, Pasay made it two in a row as it out­lasted Imus, 79-75, in the other game.

It was only the fourth win in 11 games for the Voy­agers, but it was their se­cond straight that could some­how spark the team from mov­ing up into the team stand­ings in time for the play­offs.

Jan Ja­mon, who had a break­out game last time around, played even bet­ter this time. He tal­lied a ca­reer-high 27 points, in­clud­ing 16 in the se­cond half. His goa­head lay up in the last 26 sec­onds put the Voy­agers on top, 76-75.

Pasay then made some key stops in the next two of­fen­sive trips of Imus and Yvan Lu­dovice, who backed up Ja­mon with 23, sealed the win by sinking three of four shots from the char­ity stripes.

Af­ter win­ning four in a row, the GLC Truck and Equip­ment-backed Ban­dera lost two straight and fell to a 5-5 mark. —

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