ANGELES CITY, PAMPANGA — Bataan streaked to its 12th straight win on Monday night here at the Angeles University Foundation Arena, but its most productive output in the MPBL Datu Cup against the Basilan Steel proved to be an indication of better things to come for the Bataan Risers.
The Risers posted a franchise record in points on their way to a one sided 108-77 bashing of the Steel. In notching their 12th win in 13 games, Bataan kept a hold of the solo lead in this 26-team cast put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Basilan absorbed its fourth straight beating and fell to a 4-9 card. Its latest loss, a 31-point setback, was the worst the franchise experienced.
Four players finished in double figures for the Zetapro-backed Risers led by Byron Villarias with 23 points. Fellow ex-pro Pamboy Raymundo added 15 while former PBA scoring champion Gary David chipped in 14 and Vince Tolentino contributed 10 in a display of balance firepower by Bataan.
Bulacan outlasted host team Pampanga, 67-65, in the second game and arrested an alarming skid in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.
The Mighty Sports-backed Kuyas turned to JR Taganas and Jorey Napoles for the crucial baskets as the team snapped back-to-back setbacks to get back on the winning track. Bulacan improved its win-loss record to 9-5.
Taganas, the MPBL’s rebounding demon, was at the right place at the right time, picking up a loose ball and making an important basket that gave the Kuyas a 65-61 lead with less than a minute left.
In the succeeding play, Levi Hernandez scored on a short stab to put the Lanterns back within striking distance.
The Kuyas ran their usual drive and dish offense and that allowed Napoles to beat Jimbo Aquino off the dribble and grab a 67-63 lead, with 37 seconds left. — Rey Joble